Russell Wagner began his forty-one year relationship with the cello in the Lexington, KY public school music program with Joseph Pival. Through the dedicated effort of teachers Rodney Farrar, Lyle Wolfram, Ben Bechtel, Jack Kirstein, Lynn Harrell, and Lee Fiser he earned a cello performance degree from the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. As a founding member of the early music group Musica Camerata, he toured throughout the midwest making appearances with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and on The Prairie Home Companion Show.
In 1994 Russell opened his studio, Chicago Celloworks, where he continues his endless pursuit to become a better restorer of stringed instruments. In recent years, he has revived his interest in the viola da gamba, and has become a frequent performer in Chicagoâ€™s early music community including appearances with The Newberry Consort, Bella Voce, The Forces of Virtue, The Second City Musick, and the Catacoustic Consort.