Composers, philanthropists and an opera singer head arts awards in Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Composer and Musica Viva’s Artistic Director Carl Vine has been appointed Officer (AO) of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. In an excellent year for the arts, his fellow composer Graeme Koehne was likewise honoured as well as the soprano Deborah Cheetham, recognised for her contribution as “opera singer, composer and artistic director, to the development of Indigenous artists, and to innovation in performance”.

Other AO recipients include the philanthropists Betty Amsden and Maureen and Tony Wheeler, honoured for their support for the arts, including the development of public education and participation programs. Amsden has given millions of dollars over two decades to Arts Centre Melbourne and is a big supporter of Victorian Opera, Orchestra Victoria, 3MBS and The Australian Ballet. The Wheelers supported the recent Opera Australia RingCycle to the tune of five million dollars.

The popular singers Judith Durham, Keith Potger, Bruce Woodley and Athol Guy, founder members of 1960s pop band The Seekers, were chosen as AOs for “services to the performing arts as entertainers and their seminal contributions to Australian music”. Their greatest hit, The Carnival is Over,...