Australian-Salvadoran cellist Dr. Ruben Palma is an award-winning freelance musician and pedagogue based in Sydney. Ruben began to play the cello aged 6, and spent nine years studying with Lindy Reksten at the Canberra School of Music. Ruben later studied with Julian Smiles, Howard Penny (at the Australian National Academy of Music), and Nicolas Altstaedt (at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln), and also undertook masterclasses and lessons with Steven Isserlis, David Geringas, Alban Gergardt, Uzi Wiesel, Maria Kliegel, Gabriel Schwabe, Pieter Wispelwey, Daniel Yeadon, and Gary Hoffman.

Ruben's international career has included performances in Germany, the U.S.A., Scotland, England, China, and El Salvador. As soloist, Ruben has performed Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme, Elgar's Cello Concerto in E minor, Schumann Cello Concerto in A minor, and Haydn's Cello Concerto no. 1.

Ruben is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts, the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln, and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where in in 2020 he graduated with a Doctor of Musical Arts degree with a doctoral thesis concentrating upon ornamentation in J.S. Bach's Six Cello Suites. Ruben was a state finalist in the 2008 Symphony Australia Young Performers Awards, a finalist and prizewinner in the 2014 Australian Cello Awards, the 2015 Australian Chamber Orchestra Emerging Artist, and partook in the 2017 Sydney Symphony Orchestra Fellowship program. His solo and chamber music performances have been broadcast by Melbourne Digital Concert Hall, ABC Classic FM, 702 ABC Sydney, 3MBS, and FM 102.5 Sydney Fine Music. Ruben's cello was made in 2017 by Yanbing Chen.


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Australian Chamber Orchestra

Australian Chamber Orchestra Collective

Sydney Symphony Orchestra

Canberra Symphony Orchestra

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra

Scottish Ensemble

Klassiche Philharmonie Bonn

Australian Romantic and Classical Orchestra


Australian Institute of Music

Sydney Conservatorium of Music High School

Woollahra Public School

Australian Chamber Orchestra Academy


Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) – Sydney Conservatorium of Music

Master of Music Violoncello Solo (MMus) – Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln (class: Nicolas Altstaedt)

Bachelor of Music Performance (Honours) (BMus Hons) – Victorian College of the Arts

Licentiate in Music (LMusA ) – Australian Music Examinations Board

Associate in Music (AMusA) – Australian Music Examinations Board


Postgraduate Research Support Scheme, Sydney University (2017; 2018)

Research Training Program Scholarship (formerly Australian Postgraduate Awards) (2015–2018)

Finalist Australian Cello Awards (2014)

ROSL ARTS Scholarship (2014)

MOST® Travel Grant (2014)

Willoughby Symphony Orchestra Prize (2014)

Yehudi Menuhin Live Music Now Scholarship (with Odette Quartet) (2013)

Kölner Tanz und Theater Preis (SK Stiftung Kultur) (2013)

Australia Council Skills and Arts Development grant (2012)

Gwen Nisbet Music Scholarship (2010)

John Gaitskell Mensa Award (2010)

Peg Oldfield Prize (2010)

Lady Tumer Exhibition (2010)

Gwen Prockter Prize (2010)

Ian Potter Foundation Cultural Trust Grant (2009)

Australia Council Buzz Grant (2009)

State finalist: Symphony Australia Young Performers Awards (2008)

Ruth Pfanner Undergraduate Scholarship (2007)

ANU / CSO National Orchestral Scholarship (2007)

1st prize: u18 New York American String Teachers Association National Solo Prize (2006)