Australian Cello Awards - Finalists

2014 Finalists

Finals & Awards Concert

Yelian He


Yelian He on YouTube

Allen-Evans Scholarship
Haas Award
Kitty Fischer Prize
ING Group Video Prize
Shane Rozario Photography Prize
The 'Allen-Evans' (statuette)

Sydney Symphony Prize

MOST® Audience Prize

For complete description of prizes go to Prizes & Opportunities

Awards Concert Repertoire

Peter Sculthorpe 
Threnody (for solo cello; 1991/2)

Felix Mendelssohn 
Sonata No.2 in D major, Op.58 (for cello and piano; 1843)

David Popper 
Elfentanz Op.39, Dance of the Elves' (for cello and piano; 1881)


Born in Shanghai, after embracing the cello Yelian He migrated to Australia to pursue his love of music. Yelian has been the laureate of many competitions and the recipient of multiple prizes with his duo pianist Yasmin Rowe, including the coveted Winner of the Royal Over-Seas League Competition String Finals; Winner of the Tunnell Trust Award; Kirckman Concert Society Award and the Australian Music Foundation Award to name a few. He was invited in 2013 to give a masterclass at the Birmingham Conservatoire.

2013 Australian Cello Awards Semi-Finalist - Yelian He2013 Australian Cello Awards Semi-Finalist - Yelian He

Yelian toured Australia and took part in the 2011 CHOGM in Perth, where he debuted with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra in the CHOGM Gala Concert performing Haydn’s D major Cello Concerto. He returned to Australia on tour again to in 2014 performing in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. 

 Yelian is honoured to have been presented to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2011 at an exclusive reception at Buckingham Palace for outstanding Australians in the UK - one of the biggest highlights of his life was the opportunity to shake hands with film celebrity Hugh Jackman at this function (after gathering his nerves!). In 2013 he was invited again to perform in a private concert for the Queen and her Commonwealth guests.

 As a committed orchestral cellist, Yelian has been Guest Principal Cellist of orchestras around the world including the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra and he has also worked with the Philharmonia, Hallé and Melbourne Symphony orchestras.

 In his spare time, Yelian has a passionate interest in computers and gadgets, Wing Chun, MOBA gaming, sound engineering, design and implementation of websites as well as a bit of marketing and branding.

 2014 marks the 137th birthday of Yelian’s cello – made by Hungarian luthier Adolphus Monnig in 1877. "If I were to give the cello a name, I would call it Anya; it was sold to me by a friend I’ve known for a long time – in fact he won the Symphony Australia’s Young Performers Award on it!"

Photo credits: Lauren Bamford (top); unknown (bottom).

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Edward King

New Zealand

Edward King on YouTube

Canberra Symphony Prize

Nelly Apt Scholarship

Universal Music Australia Prize

For complete description of prizes go to Prizes & Opportunities

Awards Concert Repertoire

Peter Sculthorpe
Sonata for cello Alone (1959)

Franz Schubert
Arpeggione Sonata in A minor for cello and piano D821 (1824)

Alberto Ginastera
Pampeana No.2, Op.21 'Rhapsody for cello and piano' (1950)

Edward King
was born in Auckland, New Zealand and started playing the cello at the age of three. His first cello was a 1/16 sized instrument – not much bigger than a full-size violin; his first teacher was Sally-Anne Brown, with whom he studied for the next 12 years, winning his first junior music competitions.

2013 Australian Cello Awards Semi-Finalist - Edward King 2013 Australian Cello Awards Semi-Finalist - Edward King

At age 16 Edward moved to Hamilton, New Zealand to study for his Bachelor of Music at the University of Waikato under James Tennant. Whilst at the University, he was a Sir Edmund Hillary Scholar (and Medallist), and won prizes at many of the major music competitions around New Zealand, including the National Concerto Competition (1st prize) and the Gisborne Music Competition (3rd Prize).

His piano trio, The Leonari Trio, was the winner of the ROSL Arts/Pettman International Scholarship in 2009, and toured the UK in 2010, playing in such venues as St-Martin-in-the-Fields and at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

As a soloist, Edward played concertos with the New Zealand Symphony, Christchurch Symphony, and Opus Chamber orchestras, among others. Whilst studying, he was offered contract work with both the New Zealand Symphony and the Auckland Philharmonic orchestras during this time, and was Principal Cellist of the NZ Youth Orchestra for 3 years.

After the completion of his qualifications in Hamilton, Edward moved to Germany to study under Julius Berger in Augsburg at the Leopold Mozart Centre. He is currently working towards his Masters of Music, and has had various successes around Europe – including winning the 3rd prize and a special prize at the IX Lutoslawski International Cello Competition, and the 3rd prize ex aequo at the International Cello Competition in Markneukirchen.

Edward has been invited to play at festivals such as Asiago (Italy), aDevant-Garde (Munich), and was a guest artist at the Leopold Mozart International Violin Competition. He has been broadcast on major European radio stations, such as BR, MDR, and Polish Radio, and played concertos with orchestras such as the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Poland and the Vogtland Philharmonie.

Edward has enjoyed additional artistic inspiration through the masterclasses of renowned cellists such as Frans Helmerson, Philippe Muller, Jens-Peter Maintz, Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt, Steven Isserlis and Ralph Kirshbaum.

Edward performs on a cello '"not from a particularly famous maker, but nevertheless there's a strong personal connection, and we know each other quite well! It’s around 100 years old, from 1914, and most probably from the Mirecourt School in France – though a luthier recently told me it may actually be German..."

Photo credit: unknown.

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Ruben Palma


Ruben Palma on YouTube

ROSL ARTS Scholarship

Willoughby Symphony Prize

MOST® Travel Grant

For complete description of prizes go to Prizes & Opportunities

Awards Concert Repertoire

Brett Dean
Huntington Eulogy (for cello and piano; 2001)

Francis Poulenc
Sonata for cello and piano Op.143 (1948)

Born in Sydney in 1989, cellist
Ruben Palma is the youngest student of the internationally renowned soloist Nicolas Altstaedt at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln. Ruben is currently completing a Master of Music Violoncello Solo.

2013 Australian Cello Awards Semi-Finalist - Ruben Palma 2013 Australian Cello Awards Semi-Finalist - Ruben Palma

Ruben graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts in 2012, where his teacher was Howard Penny. He has also had lessons and masterclasses with Steven Isserlis, David Geringas, Johannes Moser, Uzi Wiesel, Gary Hoffman, and Julian Smiles.

As a soloist, Ruben has made concerto appearances with the University of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33), and the Melbourne Sinfonia (Elgar's Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85).

Orchestrally, Ruben has played with the Melbourne and Canberra Youth orchestras, the Melbourne and Canberra Symphony orchestras, the Klassiche Philharmonie Bonn, Melbourne University Symphony Orchestra, Australian International Summer Orchestral Institute Orchestra, the Australian National Academy of Music Orchestra, the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic, and the Melbourne Youth Philharmonic, often in a principal role.

Ruben has been awarded the John Gaitskill Mensa Award; the Peg Oldfield Prize (2010, 2011); Lady Tumer Exhibition (2010, 2011); Gwen Prockter Prize (2010, 2011); and the Gwen Nisbet Music Scholarship whilst at the Victorian College of the Arts.

Aside from these, Ruben has also been the recipient of prizes such as the Ruth Pfanner Undergraduate Scholarship (2007); an Ian Potter Cultural Trust (2009) and a Skills and Arts Development grant from the Australia Council (2012). Ruben's solo performances have been broadcast on ABC Classic FM and Fine Music 102.5.

In 2008, Ruben was a state finalist in the Symphony Australia Young Performers Awards.

Ruben currently plays a cello built in 2001 by the American luthier William Whedbee.

Photo credits: unknown.

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2014 Finalists

Yelian He

Edward King

Ruben Palma


The Allen-Evans Statue

The 'Allen-Evans'

The premier award of the Australian Cello Awards, the recipient of the Allen-Evans will receive this limited edition statue, designed by artist Drago Cherina and hand cast in solid bronze.


Spreading the word 

The Australian Cello Awards aim to recognise outstanding talent and potential.

In this, our inaugural year, the ACA are also about 'spreading the word' to help us find the many gifted young cellists from Australia and New Zealand – wherever they may be.

Whether you are a music teacher, conservatory director, university lecturer or simply anyone who supports the next generation of cellists – you too can 'spread the word' about this exciting new competition.

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