A native of Michigan, Matthew Agnew completed early cello studies with Marilyn Kesler, Shirley Mullins (a protege of Janos Starker), and Jane Katsuyama of the Dayton Philharmonic. He attended DePaul University on scholarship and studied with William Cernota from the Lyric Opera Orchestra.
As an orchestral player, Matthew serves as the principal cellist of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, a position he has held since 2002, and plays with several Chicago area orchestras, including Chicago Opera Theater, Music of the Baroque, Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra and the Joffrey Ballet. In 2005 he was awarded the assistant principal position with the Lancaster Festival Orchestra, a summer festival orchestra in Lancaster, Ohio.
As a soloist, Matthew has been performing concertos since high school, when he premiered a cello concerto, composed by his father, at the Dayton Art Institute. Since then, he has had the privilege of soloing often with the Elgin Symphony, including concertos by Haydn and Vivaldi, and the Crouching Tiger Cello Concerto by Tan Dun, based on the soundtrack to the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. In February 2020 he performed the Saint-Saens cello concerto with the Fox Valley Orchestra, and will close the Elgin Symphony Orchestra’s 20/21 season with a performance of Richard Strass’s Don Quixote.