Wominjeka Song Cycle


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Casey Horsfield

Every Tuesday at 9am, come hear recordings of Deborah Cheetham’s Wominjeka Song Cycle ring out from the MPavilion.

Deborah Cheetham AO is a Yorta Yorta woman, soprano, composer and educator who has been a leader and pioneer in the Australian arts landscape for more than 25 years.

Since 2014, the Naomi Milgrom Foundation has commissioned Deborah to compose a contemporary song of welcome in Language, responding to the architect and their design to open each MPavilion season. The Tuesday cycle will make its way through each of the 10 song cycle commissions, including the 2023 addition, ‘MPav X You are Here’.


Deborah Cheetham AO is a Yorta Yorta woman, soprano, composer and educator has been a leader and pioneer in the Australian arts landscape for more than 25 years. In the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours List, Cheetham was appointed as 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”.

In 2009, Deborah Cheetham established Short Black Opera as a national not-for-profit opera company devoted to the development of Indigenous singers. The following year she produced the premiere of her first opera Pecan Summer. This landmark work was Australia’s first Indigenous opera and has been a vehicle for the development of a new generation of Indigenous opera singers.

In March 2015 she was inducted onto the Honour Roll of Women in Victoria and in April 2018 received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of South Australia for her pioneering work and achievements in the music.


With thanks to N’arweet Professor Carolyn Briggs PhD AM, Composer Deborah Cheetham AO, Conductor Aaron Wyatt, Naomi Milgrom AC and the Naomi Milgrom Foundation, Creative Victoria, City of Melbourne, Indigenous Language and Arts (ILA), Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, Short Black Opera, Ensemble Dutala (MSO residency supported by the Ullmer Family Foundation), Dhungala Children’s Choir, Consort of Melbourne, Deborah Cheetham AO, Toni Lalich OAM, Shauntai Batzke, Jessica Hitchcock, Aaron Wyatt, Hamish Upton and Zela Papageorgiou, and Museums Victoria.

Wominjeka (Welcome). We acknowledge the people of the Eastern Kulin Nation as the Traditional Custodians of the land on which MPavilion stands. We pay our respects to their Elders, past and present – and recognise they have been creating, telling stories and caring for Country for thousands of generations.