Australian Cello Awards - Semi-Finalists

2014 Semi-Finalists

5 selected for Round 2

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

Yelian He


Yelian He on YouTube

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.

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).

Back to top

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

Edward King

New Zealand

Edward King on YouTube

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.

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 in 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.

Back to top

2013 Australian Cello Awards Semi-Finalist - Yoshi Masuda 2013 Australian Cello Awards Semi-Finalist - Yoshi Masuda

Yoshika Masuda


Yoshika Masuda on YouTube

Born in Kobe, Japan, Yoshika Masuda first started to play the cello at the age of five. He moved to Australia as a young child and began his studies with Georg Pedersen at the Sydney Conservatorium High School, before continuing with other eminent teachers such as Hannah Roberts and Ralph Kirshbaum.

He has also benefited greatly from taking part in masterclasses given by Anner Bylsma, Thomas Demenga, David Geringas, the late Bernard Greenhouse, Frans Helmerson, Gary Hoffman and Steven Isserlis.

Yoshika was recently awarded first prizes at both the National Young Artist Competition (strings) in the USA and the Australian Concerto & Vocal Competition. He was also the winner of the USC Solo Bach Competition, YMF National Debut Concerto Competition and the prestigious Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe String Award.

His other accolades include top prizes at the Sydney Cello Award and the J&A Beare International Solo Bach Competition. Yoshika has performed concertos and recitals throughout Australia and Europe, with numerous performances broadcast on ABC Classic FM (Australia), BBC Radio 3 (UK), Klassik Radio (Germany), RAI Radio 3 (Italy) and Concertzender Radio (The Netherlands). He is a keen advocate of contemporary music, having collaborated with his friend and composer Michael Cutting by premiering Epitaph, a work for cello and string orchestra.

He also performed the Italian composer Michele Dall’Ongaro’s Linea Nigra for cello and orchestra with the World Youth Chamber Orchestra on their tour of Italy. Yoshika is an avid chamber musician and has performed with artists such as Guy Ben-Ziony, Natalie Clein, Nicholas Daniel, Charmian Gadd, Bruno Giuranna, Alissa Margulis, Vincent Peirani and Paul Roczek.

He was invited to perform at the festivals of Aldeburgh and Leicester in the UK, Festival Amfiteatrof in Italy and the inaugural Piatigorsky Cello Festival in the USA. In 2009 Yoshika gained his Bachelor of Music with first class honours from the Royal Northern College of Music, receiving both the Sir John Munduell Principal’s Prize and the Leonard Rose Cello Award for outstanding achievement. He also completed his Master of Music degree at the RNCM with distinction the following year.

Yoshika is currently continuing his studies in Los Angeles as a doctoral student of Ralph Kirshbaum at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. Outside of music, Yoshika enjoys being active outdoors and often goes swimming and hiking, encouraged by the consistently warm climate that is apparent in Los Angeles.

Yoshika performs on a cello made in 1930 by the famed American luthier Carl Becker, and was previously used by George Sopkin of The Fine Arts Quartet.

Photo credits: unknown.

Back to top

2013 Australian Cello Awards Semi-Finalist - Louise McKay 2013 Australian Cello Awards Semi-Finalist - Louise McKay

Louise McKay


Louise McKay on YouTube

Louise McKay was born in Perth, Western Australia in 1986. After starting on piano at the age of three, she took up cello at the age of seven and studied both instruments until the end of high school. Louise's earliest music teachers, Cathy Maunder (piano) and Rosemary Iverson (cello), based their syllabus on the Suzuki Method, but also encouraged her to take AMEB exams after a few years.

In high school, Louise moved on to Liz Morse as a piano teacher and Rod McGrath (Principal Cello, WA Symphony Orchestra). Throughout her school life, Louise was heavily involved with school orchestras, choirs and chamber ensembles, and also participated in the WA Youth Orchestra programmes, including a tour of Europe in 2003.

Louise started her tertiary education at the Australian National Academy of Music in Melbourne where, in the course of one year, she studied with 5 cello teachers and countless chamber music tutors. From there, Louise moved to Adelaide to spend 3 years learning from Janis Laurs (Principal Cello, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra). During the period in which she completed her Bachelor of Music degree, Louise participated in various Australian Youth Orchestra programmes, ACO2, Ferme de Villefavard (Summer mastercourse in France), Prague Spring International Cello Competition and numerous concerts and recitals in Adelaide and Perth. She also auditioned successfully for casual positions with the Adelaide, West Australian and Melbourne Symphony orchestras in 2006.

In 2008, Louise auditioned for several postgraduate courses in the United States and accepted a position in the Artist Diploma program at the Colburn Conservatory in Los Angeles where she studied with Ronald Leonard (former Principal Cello, Los Angeles Philharmonic). The Colburn campus was home to 100-odd instrumentalists, each on the same “all expenses” scholarship. Chamber music and orchestral playing were very strong parts of the curriculum, and regularly included opportunities to perform alongside faculty and visiting artists. In one such concert, Louise temporarily replaced the cellist in the contemporary ensemble 'eighth blackbird' in a choreographed performance of Meanwhile by LA composer Steven Hartke. This performance was one of Louise's first forays into contemporary music, and her interest has developed since. Louise became the founding principal cellist of the contemporary music collective 'wild Up', and also took part in the LA Elliot Carter Centenary Concert, performing Carter's Cello Sonata and various chamber works by the 100-year old composer.

Since returning to Perth from Los Angeles, Louise has continued to pursue this interest in modern music, performing regularly with Etica Ensemble and she also appeared as soloist in Kai by Mark-Anthony Turnage with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra in their “Latitude Festival 2012”.

Louise auditioned for the position of Associate Principal Cello with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra in 2011, and passed her trial 3 months later. As well as working full-time in the orchestra, Louise continues to rehearse and perform chamber music recitals. Just this year she has presented cello and piano recitals at Government House Ballroom, the Grove Classics Series and Ellington Jazz Club (Chamber Jam); toured the SouthWest Wheathbelt with her string trio, the Swan Virtuosi; self-promoted several concerts with Meta Quartet and more. The professional relationships within each chamber ensemble are a lasting source of inspiration for Louise.

Aside from playing the cello, Louise also spends time training for triathlons; running with her labrador x cocker spaniel puppy, Elliott; volunteering as a Primary Ambulance Care Officer for St John; and spending time with her family.

"I call my cello Jacques. We were introduced by Michel Strauss (cello professor at Paris Conservatoire) when I was participating in a Cello Summer School in Villefavard, France. It was love at first note, so I promptly texted home to my parents, 'I've fallen in love with a 100 year old Frenchman!' Needless to say, they were a little concerned...!"

Photo credits: unknown (top); Philip Priolo (bottom).

Back to top

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

Ruben Palma


Ruben Palma on YouTube

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.

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.

Back to top

2014 Semi-Finalists

Yelian He

Edward King

Yoshika Masuda

Louise McKay

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.


the word 

The Australian Cello Awards are about aiming 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.

Find us on:

Find us on YoutubeFind us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter

Calendar / Events

No Events

Cello Awards
coming to 
Sydney in 2017


Our YouTube channel
Our Facebook page
Our Tumblr page
Our Twitter page
Link to our YouTube Channel

What are people saying?

The cello is an instrument that inspires. The Australian Cello Awards is a new event helping to discover the many reasons why so many people love the cello!

Visit our YouTube channel