Dr. Lent is a native of Houston where he attended the Houston High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and the University of Houston. Since completing his Doctor of Musical Arts from Yale, Dr. Lent has been based in Los Angeles. Once there, he held a teaching fellowship in collaborative piano. James is currently on the faculty of UCLA as the head of collaborative piano and vocal coaching for the music department, and as coordinator of staff pianists, a resident vocal coach, and musical director at AMDA, the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Hollywood. He has also served on the summer faculty at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, CA as a pianist and opera coach for the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, and the Napa Music Festival.
As a performer he frequently performs throughout Southern California, and recently in venues including the Beverly Hills Hilton, House of Blues, LA Live, and the Ritz Carlton Hotel. He has been featured as a pianist in Cabaret, Chicago, Chess, A Chorus Line, The Fantasticks, Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Oklahoma. James is available as a soloist or he can provide additional performers including strings, drums, winds, and/or brass.
As a music director he has directed and played for productions of Spamilton, Grease, Little Shop of Horrors, Sweet Charity, Willy Wonka, West Side Story, Seussical, AMDA’s Toonsical, Rent, and for the LA Stage Star Competition.
He made his Alabama Symphony debut to critical acclaim performing Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 2 on 24 hours’ notice to replace Andre Watts. Lent has performed with the renowned Paris-based Ensemble Intercontemporain under the direction of Pierre Boulez in a sold-out concert at Carnegie Hall, and his performances have been heard on National Public Radio. He has performed with the Vancouver Symphony, the Houston Symphony, the Shanghai Philharmonic, the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, the Utah Symphony and the Florida West Coast Symphony, among others, and as solo recitalist at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival in Germany, for the National Chopin Foundation in Miami, at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and at the Cleveland Museum of Art, where he premiered a new work written for him by American composer Frederic Rzewski.
He has received numerous awards from the New York Concert Artists Guild International Competition, the National Chopin Competition, the Washington International Piano Competition at the Kennedy Center, the Olga Koussevitsky Piano Competition in New York, and the Houston Symphony Ima Hogg National Young Artist Competition. He was a fellowship recipient at the Aspen Music Festival, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the Sarasota Music Festival, and the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, where he studied with Jerome Lowenthal.