First Assistant Principal Second Violin
Patricia M. Kozerefski and Richard J. Bogomolny Endowed Chair
Eli Matthews joined The Cleveland Orchestra in 1997 and was promoted to be First Assistant Principal Second Violin in 2008. He was raised in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was enrolled in the local Suzuki violin program. At age twelve, he was accepted into the newly formed Starling Preparatory String Project at the University of Cincinnati by violin professor Kurt Sassmannshaus. He first appeared as soloist at age fourteen, with his youth orchestra, performing the Bruch Violin Concerto — and then playing Paganini’s First Violin Concerto with the same ensemble two years later. As a student, Eli Matthews attended the Sewanee and Aspen summer music festivals and then enrolled in the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Dorothy DeLay. His concerto performances there included those by Berg, Ernst, and Sibelius.
Prior to coming to Cleveland, Mr. Matthews had performed as a member of the orchestras of Cincinnati and St. Louis. He has served as a faculty member and guest soloist at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival and frequently participates in The Cleveland Orchestra’s education and community engagement programs. Recently, he appeared as a featured soloist at the 2017 Mainly Mozart Festival in Miami and locally with the Cleveland Philharmonic in a performance of the Beethoven Triple Concerto. He resides in University Circle with his wife, Renee, also a violinist and active local teacher, and their five sons.