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The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra today announced the appointment of Deborah Cheetham AO and Dr Anita Collins as the Orchestra’s Creative Chairs, two exciting additions to the leading musical institution’s artistic family ahead of the MSO’s International Women’s Day program of activity.

Renowned soprano and composer Deborah Cheetham AO has been appointed as the MSO’s First Nations Creative Chair which will see the Orchestra continue to develop its strong relationship with Indigenous artists and communities.

Ms Cheetham has been integral to the MSO with the introduction of the Orchestra’s unique musical acknowledgement of country, which since 2019 is now performed at the start of each concert.

As the MSO’s former Composer in Residence, Ms Cheetham premiered many contemporary works, highlighting a new chapter in Australian classical music. Her extraordinary work, the critically-acclaimed Eumeralla, was premiered by the MSO in 2019. This composition opened up a part of Australia’s dark history, generating awareness of a story that had previously been untold.

Leading music educator and researcher Dr Anita Collins has been appointed the Creative Chair for Learning and Engagement. Dr Collins’ role will focus on identifying priority needs within Victoria’s music education sector and working through how MSO can proactively address these needs with content and resource development.

Dr Collins will develop the MSO’s learning collaborations and projects on both a local and international scale, connecting the MSO to other key music education specialists and assisting the Orchestra to elevate and articulate the importance of music education. Her appointment comes off the back of her Keynote address at the MSO’s inaugural Melbourne Music Summit.

MSO Managing Director Sophie Galaise said the appointment of the two leading women in the Australian music industry was a coup for the Orchestra and for Victorian music lovers.

‘‘These two five-year appointments usher in an exciting period in the MSO’s evolution as we continue to promote our learning and engagement programs as well as our relationships with Indigenous artists and communities. Both Deborah and Anita are committed to delivering music to everyone and are incredibly connected with their audiences and the future of music in Victoria and Australia.

‘‘We can’t wait to start working with Deborah and Anita and deep dive into planning the future of our Orchestra,’‘ said Ms Galaise. “The MSO has pledged to gender equity, and I am thrilled to welcome these two new faces to join other female leaders such as our Guest Conductor in Residence, Xian Zhang and Concertmaster, Sophie Rowell”

Deborah Cheetham AO and Dr Anita Collins will appear in the Keychange: Women in Music and Superwomen of the MSO panel discussions respectively, part of the MSO’s International Women’s Day program of events.

The MSO’s International Women’s Day program is proudly presented by Equity Trustees.

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