Born in Porto, Portugal in 1995, I started having cello lessons at the age of 4 with my godfather, owner of Guilhermina Suggias’ Montagnana, and Porto Symphony Orchestra’s cello section leader at the time. At this point my father was the principal horn player of the same orchestra, and when I went to see a concert and heard my godfather playing a solo, I could not stop asking my parents for cello lessons and after much non-stop pestering I was privileged enough to have lessons with him.

After 10 years of lessons with my godfather, affording me not only great teaching but also fantastic first-hand insight regarding the professional world, I decided to apply for a high school degree in music at Escola Profissional de Musica de Espinho. I was accepted with distinction and the course very much helped me towards my dream of being able to study in the UK. After auditioning, I was fortunate enough to be able, admittedly with some trepidation, to move abroad and accept the offer to undertake an undergraduate degree with a full scholarship at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD), studying under Nicola Thomas.

After graduating in July 2017 I was offered master’s degree places variously at RWCMD, Royal Northern College of Music and Drama, Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Royal Academy of Music, and I accepted a place at the Royal Academy of Music. However due to financial hardship I was unable to enroll and proceed with my postgraduate studies. Subsequently, after a year of teaching in Cardiff, I returned to Portugal in August 2018 and began privately studying with Filipe Quaresma, became a founding member and appointed Principal Cellist of the Orquestra Nacional Moderna and am on the extra list of Orquestra Clássica do Centro, Orquestra Clássica de Espinho, Orquestra de Câmara de Cascais e Oeiras, Orquestra Sem Fronteiras and Orquestra de Câmara Portuguesa.

Upon receiving the great offer to join Southbank Sinfonia for 2020, I came to the realisation that the most important thing in one’s goals and/or dreams is not to give up. After not being able to move to London for my master’s and being unsuccessful in previous auditions for Southbank, I did my very best to not get stuck in a negative state of mind and with solid and honest work, I was able to achieve and conquer this dream, and I believe this is a message and a state of mind worth fighting for.


Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama
Cardiff, UK

Escola Profissional de Musica de Espinho
Espinho, Portugal

Quickfire Questions

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us.
I started attending karate lessons at the age of 5. It was something that I really enjoyed being part of because any martial art is very much based in honour and respect. As I got older I began entering competitions and by at the age of 13 I won the gold medal at a national competition. However, unfortunately, as it is a close combat sport, I did break a leg and an arm during my time practicing it. Thankfully this did not bring about any long-term harm or any pain, and entering the path of becoming a professional musician was what made me quit practicing it.

If you weren’t a musician, what would you be?
I wouldn’t change being a musician for the world, however I would love to be an F1 driver. Formula 1 is, perhaps, my favourite sport. The sheer excitement of competing whilst travelling faster than 200 miles per hour and touring the world must be extremely exhilarating and something I would most definitely like to experience.

Ricky is a member of the 2020-2021 fellowship.