Most professional musicians dedicate at least a decade to their instruments before being invited to perform at high-profile venues in front of dignitaries. But at age 9, classical cellist Sujari Britt has already played for a packed house before President Obama and members of Congress, becoming one of the youngest musicians ever to perform at the White House.
Sujari Britt is making history … by showing a preternatural understanding and passion for music. Britt, who has been studying the cello at least three hours a day since the age of 5, wowed first lady Michelle Obama in November 2009 at a White-House-hosted workshop and recital for student musicians. The first lady summoned the youngster to perform for the president that evening, where Britt captivated the White House audience with her precision as she performed the first movement of Luigi Boccherini’s Sonata for Two Cellos in C Major with 27-year-old Alisa Weilerstein.
Even before her White House performance, it was already abundantly clear that this cello prodigy would make an impact on the classical music world; in 2008, her performance of Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major won first place at the annual Associated Music Teachers League scholarship competition.
What’s next for Sujari?
Britt attends the Manhattan School of Music where she was named the 2010 recipient of the Dianne Flagello Precollege Division Scholarship Endowment. She can also be found performing with her sister, Joelle and brother, Sunnaj in a classical string trio. With such a jump-start on performing, as well as overflowing with an abundance of talent, dedication, and poise, there’s little doubt that a long career for Sujari Britt is on the way.
In her own words …
“I think that one of the most important lessons of Black History Month is that all people can achieve and succeed. I celebrate this idea by working to do my best in all that I do, every day,” said the musical prodigy to theGrio. “President Obama inspires me to believe that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘Dream’ can come true!”
A little-known fact …
In 1859, a 10-year-old blind pianist named Tom Wiggins became the first African-American to play at the White House in his concert before President James Buchanan.
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