Each receives $25,000 to be used for specific needs in advancing a career

Sterling Elliott

Sterling Elliott

Five musicians have been announced as the recipients of the 2021 Avery Fisher Career Grants.

The recipients are cellists Sterling Elliott and Oliver Herbert; violinists Geneva Lewis and Kevin Zhu; and pianist Eric Lu. Each receives an award of $25,000 to be used for specific needs in advancing a career.  

The Avery Fisher Artist Program, established by the late Avery Fisher in 1974, is intended to help young artists in the early stages of their careers. The Program, supporting instrumentalists and chamber ensembles who must be US citizens or permanent US residents, provides recognition in two categories: Career Grants, given annually, and the Prize, given less frequently as the highest form of recognition for excellence and contributions to classical music. 

Former Career Grant recipients include cellist Jay Campbell; violinists Augustin Hadelich and Anne Akiko Meyers; flutists Demarre McGill and Tara Helen O’Connor; and pianist Awadagin Pratt.


Read: Violinist Rachell Ellen Wong becomes first Baroque artist to receive an Avery Fisher Career Grant

Read: Quartet and violinist among Avery Fisher Career Grant recipients

Read: Violinist, double bassist and quartet awarded Avery Fisher grants


Recipients are nominated by a Recommendation Board, made up of nationally known instrumentalists, conductors, composers, music educators, managers and presenters. Among those sitting on the board this year were cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Pamela Frank, pianist Emanuel Ax and clarinettist Anthony McGill.

Due to ongoing Covid restrictions, this year’s grants, traditionally announced via a live ceremony from WQXR’s Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, were officially announced on air, followed by a virtual livestreamed ceremony, which featured additional recorded performances from each of the recipients as well as short recipient interviews.

The 2021 Avery Fisher Career Grant virtual ceremony will be archived for on-demand viewing on the Avery Fisher Artist Program website at www.averyfisherartistprogram.org,