Australian/Salvadoran cellist Dr. Ruben Palma is a freelance musician and educator based in Sydney. Born in Sydney in 1989, 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, and Nicolas Altstaedt, and also undertook masterclasses and lessons with Steven Isserlis, David Geringas, Johannes Moser, Alban Gergardt, Uzi Wiesel, Maria Kliegel, Gabriel Schwabe, Pieter Wispelwey, and Gary Hoffman.

Ruben's international career has included solo, chamber music, and orchestral performances in Germany, the U.S.A., Scotland, England, China, and El Salvador. Ruben has appeared at the Adelaide International Cello Festival (2008; 2011) and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (2014; 2015), as well as in the London Friends of ROSL Arts series (2014), and at MARTE, San Salvador, El Salvador (2016). 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 2019 he completed a Doctor of Musical Arts degree, concentrating on ornamentation in Bach's Cello Suites. He 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 on ABC Classic FM, 702 ABC Sydney, 3MBS, and FM 102.5 Sydney Fine Music. Ruben's cello was made in 2017 by Yanbing Chen.

- biography current as of September 2019


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

Master of Music Violoncello Solo (MMus) – Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln

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


Fortuna Ehrenfeld


The Letdown (ABC / Netflix TV series)

Hilltop Hoods

Robert Forster

Amanda Palmer

Scout Niblet

Wu Tang Clan

Dean Lewis

Flight Facilities

Orava Quartet


Australian Chamber Orchestra

Australian Chamber Orchestra Collective

Sydney Symphony Orchestra

Canberra Symphony Orchestra

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra

Scottish Ensemble

Klassiche Philharmonie Bonn


Sydney Conservatorium of Music High School

Australian Chamber Orchestra Academy


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

Ruth Pfanner Undergraduate Scholarship (2007)

ANU / CSO National Orchestral Scholarship (2007)

State finalist: Symphony Australia Young Performers Awards (2008)

Ian Potter Foundation Cultural Trust Grant (2009)

Australia Council Buzz Grant (2009)

Gwen Nisbet Music Scholarship (2010)

John Gaitskell Mensa Award (2010)

Peg Oldfield Prize (2010)

Lady Tumer Exhibition (2010)

Gwen Prockter Prize (2010)

Australia Council Skills and Arts Development grant (2012)

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

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

ROSL ARTS Scholarship (2014)

MOST® Travel Grant (2014)

Willoughby Symphony Orchestra Prize (2014)

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

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

Curriculum vitae