Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music and Performance colleague’s outstanding achievements

Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music and Performance, Professor of Practice, Deborah Cheetham AO. Photo credit: Wayne Quillam.

The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra have just announced the appointment of SZCSoMP Professor of Practice, Deborah Cheetham AO as First Nations Creative Chair. The announcement was made on 5 March 2021 ahead of International Women’s Day.

Professor Cheetham is a renowned soprano and composer who most recently was the MSO Composer in residence (2020). The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra have premiered a number of Professor Cheetham’s compositions, most notably her opera Eumeralla: A War Requiem for Peace; the first opera sung entirely in the ancient dialects of the Gunditjmara people. Professor Cheetham’s musical Acknowledgement of Country has been performed at the start of every MSO performance since 2019, and in February 2021, her latest composition, a viola concerto titled Nanyubak (Dreaming the Future) was premiered by Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music and Performance violist, lecturer and musicologist Aaron Wyatt.

Professor Deborah Cheetham AO with viola soloist Aaron Wyatt and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Photo credit: Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

The performance was recorded and will be broadcast by ABC Classic on Sunday March 21 at 1pm.

The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra describe Professor Deborah Cheetham AO’s appointment as First Nations Creative Chair as “highlighting a new chapter in Australian classical music” with the Orchestra continuing to “develop its strong relationship with Indigenous artists and communities”.

We offer our congratulations to Professor Deborah Cheetham AO on her appointment and to Mr Wyatt for his outstanding premiere performance of Nanyubak.