Cleo Lee-McGowan made her debut with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in 2020 as a soloist in Joe Hisaishi’s East Land Symphony. She also debuted with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in 2019 as Niece 2 in Peter Grimes with chief conductor David Robertson.
Cleo was the recipient of the Joseph Sambrook Opera Scholarship through Melba Opera Trust from 2017 to 2019. She has performed the role of Gretel in Hansel and Gretel with Victorian Opera both in their 2018 Melbourne season and their 2017 regional tour of Victoria. In 2018 Cleo was a soloist with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra in Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In 2017, Cleo was featured as a soloist in a live broadcast on ABC Classic FM in celebration of International Women’s Day.
In 2019, Cleo won the Sydney Eisteddfod Opera Scholarship, and competed as a finalist in the JSRB Bel Canto Award where she was the recipient of the Sanderson Award and Hawaii Performing Arts Prize. In 2018, Cleo was a finalist in the IFAC Handa Australian Singing Competition and was the recipient of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama Award, Pasqualina Lipari Prize, Sydney Symphony Orchestra Award, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs Prize and Audience Prize.
Cleo is currently studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in its prestigious Opera School in London. This year she will play the title roles in Pauline Viardot’s Cendrillon and Judith Weir’s Miss Fortune. In November she will appear as a soloist at London City Orchestra's A Night at the Opera, playing Mélisande in Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande. She holds a Bachelor of Music with First Class Honours from the University of Melbourne, where she was the recipient of a number of scholarships.