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23-year-old cello phenom to perform with Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra

Cellist Sterling Elliott will perform with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra May 5-7.
Courtesy photo
Denny Moe’s Media House
Cellist Sterling Elliott will perform with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra May 5-7.

Cellist Sterling Elliott has performed with the New York Philharmonic, LA Phil and Boston Symphony Orchestra – and this weekend he’ll add the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra to his list.

The 23-year-old performer already has an impressive resume. In addition to performing with several renowned orchestras, he won the senior division of the2019 National Sphinx Competition and graduated from Juilliard in 2021.

But the cello phenom nearly played violin instead.

Fort Worth Report

His mom, older sister and brother all play the violin and he wanted to follow in their footsteps, but they wanted another instrument to complete their nontraditional quartet.

“My mom convinced me with a little white lie that cellists make more money,” he said. “And that’s what persuaded me to be a cellist at the age of 3.”

Even though he grew up playing with his family, he didn’t initially consider pursuing music professionally.

“It was sort of just for the joy of it,” he explained. “We played a lot of bluegrass, R&B, gospel and funk.”

His passion for playing stuck with him.

“It didn’t feel like an extracurricular thing to me,” he said. “You sleep, eat and practice; it’s one of the essentials of life.”

As a teenager, he started competing in and winning competitions.

“I won the junior division of the Sphinx Competition [in 2014] and was invited to perform with a number of prominent orchestras across the country,” he said. “In a way, pursuing this as a career was already looking me in the face … I began to consider that this could be a very fulfilling way of life and never looked back.”

He will perform with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Music Director Laureate Miguel Harth-Bedoya at three concerts titled: Elgar’s Enigma Variations: Strauss, Saint-Säens, and Elgar. Performances will take place at Bass Hall May 5-7.

Marcheta Fornoff covers the arts for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at or on Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.