Deborah Joy Cheetham
24 November 1964
Nowra, New South Wales, Australia
|Education||Bachelor of Music, NSW Conservatorium of Music|
|Occupation||Singer, actor, composer, playwright|
Early life and education
In 1997 Cheetham wrote the autobiographical play White Baptist Abba Fan which tells of her experiences of coming to terms with her homosexuality and racial identity while trying to reunite with her Aboriginal family. White Baptist Abba Fan has toured internationally.
As a soprano, Cheetham has performed in France, Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and New Zealand. She sang at the opening ceremonies of the 2000 Summer Olympics and the 2003 Rugby World Cup.
In October 2010, Cheetham's opera Pecan Summer, based on the 1939 Cummeragunja walk-off, opened in Mooroopna, Victoria. She wrote, composed and performed in the production by the Short Black Opera Company.
Cheetham wrote Australia's first requiem based on the frontier wars between first nations people in South Western Victoria and settlers between 1840–1863. The requiem, "Eumeralla, a war requiem for peace" is sung entirely in the Gunditjmara language. The first performance of the requiem on 15 June 2019 will feature Cheetham with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the MSO Chorus and the Dhungala Children's Choir.
In November 2019, Cheetham was appointed Professor of Practice at the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music at Monash University. She is also the 2020 Composer in Residence at the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
Cheetham's second opera, Parrwang Lifts the Sky, will premiere during Victorian Opera's 2021 season and will be sung in the Wadawurrung language.
In the 2014 Queen's Birthday Honours List, Cheetham was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), for "distinguished service to the performing arts as an opera singer, composer and artistic director, to the development of Indigenous artists, and to innovation in performance".
National Live Music Awards
The National Live Music Awards (NLMAs) are a broad recognition of Australia's diverse live industry, celebrating the success of the Australian live scene. The awards commenced in 2016.
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|National Live Music Awards of 2019||Deborah Cheetham||Live Classical Act of the Year||Won|
- "Where did all the children go?", The Independent, 5 July 2000
- "Deborah Cheetham", Sunday Nights With John Cleary, 3 February 2001, Radio National
- "The sins of the fathers" by Michael Billington, The Guardian, 22 March 2000
- White Baptist Abba Fan, Radio National's Arts Talk
- Deborah Cheetham Archived 3 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine, Australia Council for the Arts
- "Singing for the world" by Frank Walker, The Age, 14 September 2003
- "Shepparton pulls together to face up to indigenous disadvantage" by Peter Jackson, Crikey, 13 August 2009
- Pecan Summer Archived 6 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine at Riverlinks
- Karantonis, Pamela (2011). Opera Indigene: Re/presenting First Nations and Indigenous Cultures. Surrey, England: Ashgate. p. 325. ISBN 9780754669890.
- Cheetham, Deborah. "Young and free? Why I declined to sing the national anthem at the 2015 AFL Grand Final". The Conversation. Retrieved 8 May 2019.
- "Eumeralla, a war requiem for peace". National Indigenous Times. Retrieved 8 May 2019.
- "Australian opera legend Deborah Cheetham AO named Professor of Practice at Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music". Monash Arts. 15 November 2019. Retrieved 18 November 2019.
- Miller, Nick (5 October 2020). "A magpie's song that lifted the darkness: new opera tells potent tale". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
- "The Queen's Birthday 2014 Honours List" (PDF). 8 June 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 June 2014. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
- "Victorian Honour Roll of Women 2018" (PDF).
- "Deborah Cheetham AO honoured with prestigious award". The University of Melbourne. 7 June 2019. Retrieved 9 June 2019.
- "HERE ARE YOUR 2019 NATIONAL LIVE MUSIC AWARDS NOMINEES!". NLMA. 22 October 2020. Retrieved 5 September 2020.
- "AND THE WINNERS OF THE 2019 NATIONAL LIVE MUSIC AWARDS ARE…". NLMA. 5 December 2020. Retrieved 5 September 2020.