Melbourne Symphony Orchestra 2020 Composer in Residence Deborah Cheetham AO has been announced as the winner of the $60,000 Melbourne Prize for Music.
The acclaimed Yorta Yorta soprano, composer and Artistic Director of Short Black Opera, Cheetham was awarded prestigious prize for her outstanding work demonstrating exceptional musicianship, skill and creativity.
It comes after Cheetham and the MSO’s critically and publically acclaimed symphonic premiere of her Eumeralla, a war requiem for peace in June, 2019. Written and composed by Cheetham, Eumeralla, a war requiem for peace is sung entirely in the dialects of the Gunditjmara people, sung by a cast of Indigenous and non-Indigenous singers.
MSO Managing Director Sophie Galaise congratulated Cheetham on receiving the award.
“We are exceptionally proud of Deborah’s achievements; this prize couldn’t be more deserved,” Ms Galaise.
“Eumeralla, a war requiem for peace was a major highlight of the MSO’s 2019 season and we’re honoured to have Deborah as part of MSO’s Artistic Family in 2020.
“We look forward to creating many more extraordinary musical experiences with her.”
The MSO will premiere a number of new works by Cheetham has part of her residency in 2020; her Dutala (Star-Filled Sky) at Season Opening Gala on 22 February, Yirramboi (Tomorrow) at Mid-Season Gala on 25 July and the Melbourne Ensemble will premiere her Woven Song: Above Knowing on 22 March.
Cheetham’s Long Time Living Here, a musical acknowledgement of country in 11 different languages, has premiered on-country throughout the MSO’s 2019 regional tour. The Boon Wurrung acknowledgement will receive its on-country premiere at the MSO’s Sidney Myer Music Bowl performance on 8 February.
The award announcement was made at a ceremony at Federation Square on Wednesday 13 November by a judging panel consisting of some of Australia’s most respected music identities, including MSO Director of Artistic Planning, Melissa King, alongside Kate Miller-Heidke, Kutcha Edwards, Professor Paul Grabowsky AO, Professor Liza Lim and Helen Marcou AM.
Other award winners include:
• Composer, Improviser and Performer Erkki Veltheim – Distinguished Musicians Fellowship 2019
• Vocalist, Songwriter, Musician Mojo Juju – Development Award 2019
• Pianist and Composer Andrea Keller – Beleura Emerging Composers Award 2019
ABC Classic will air a repeat broadcast of the MSO’s performance of Eumeralla, a war requiem for peace this Saturday 16 November at 1pm.
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