Prof Deborah Cheetham AO
DUniv, BMus Ed, AmusA

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Soprano and Composer

Deborah Cheetham, Yorta Yorta woman, soprano, composer and Artistic Director, has been a leader and pioneer in the Australian arts landscape for more than 25 years. Cheetham was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2014.

Commissions have included works for the major state orchestras and various National ensembles. Awards include Sir Bernard Heinze Memorial Award, Merlyn Myer Prize,2019 Melbourne Prize for Music, Limelight Magazine’s Critics Choice Artist of the Year and The Helpmann JC Williamson award for lifetime service to the arts. In 2021 Deborah Cheetham was appointed as First Nations Chair of Melbourne Symphony orchestra.

Helen Marcou AM

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Co–founder of Bakehouse Studios and SLAM, curator, speaker, mentor and advocate

Helen Marcou AM has spent decades at the coalface of music culture.

Alongside her long term partner Quincy McLean AM, she co-founded grassroots movement SLAM (Save Live Australia’s Music) and Melbourne’s Bakehouse Studios.

In 2019, she was recognized with an ‘Order of Australia’ for her contribution to music and the arts. Helen was an inductee to the Victorian Women’s honor roll in 2017, a recipient of the Sidney Myer performing arts facilitators award, one of the ‘Power 50’ of Australia’s most influential people in the Music Industry 2018 and 2019.

Benjamin Northey

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Benjamin Northey is currently the Principal Resident Conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the Chief Conductor of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra.

Internationally, he has conducted the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, Hong Kong Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia and the Southbank Sinfonia of London.

He has conducted L’elisir d’amore, The Tales of Hoffmann and La sonnambula for SOSA and Turandot, Don Giovanni, Carmen and Cosi fan tutte for Opera Australia.

Limelight Magazine named him Australian Artist of the Year in 2018. In 2022, he conducts the Christchurch and New Zealand Symphony Orchestras and all six Australian state symphony orchestras.