BRONWEN FORBAY

South-African-American Soprano

 

In my teaching career, I've been privileged to work with many talented students of all ages and levels. I don't believe in a "one size fits all" approach to technical challenges, and enjoy tailoring improvement strategies to the individual. I am an advocate of the Italian School of Singing and believe in the importance of cultivating a relaxed, free, expressive and healthy vocal technique. In lessons, I address various methods for developing a balanced, resonant tone, grounded breath support, and a "noble" posture free from physical tension. Audition, role, song preparation, characterization, and memorization methods, are addressed. I strongly encourage students to develop an affinity for lyric diction, and have found study in musicianship, music theory, history, literature, and keyboard skills highly beneficial when developing well-rounded artists, regardless of genre.

I grew up during apartheid South Africa, and attended schools for people of mixed race. I didn't have access to music theory or foreign language study while at school. My choral directors made the strongest impression on me, and encouraged me to pursue my dreams. When I began studying music as an undergraduate, I couldn't read Western Classical notation. I was discouraged by this at first, but my professors believed in me. They patiently helped me learn. Through them, I came to enjoy the process and was inspired to share this knowledge with others. 

My South African students have been successful in numerous competitions. During my Fulbright home residency when I taught at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, two won the first, second, and “audience prize” awards in the UKZN Classical Performers’ Competition. Others were semi-finalists at the national level in the ATKV-Musique contest. Many have performed as soloists with the Cape Town Opera, Opera Africa, and the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra. Others have been on faculty at the University of Stellenbosch, and the University of KwaZulu-Natal. 

In 2019, my students won the first, second, and third prizes in the Texas Music Teachers Association (TMTA) Young Artist Voice Contest, as well as 2nd and 3rd place in their divisions at the DFW NATS Student Auditions. In 2018, others won first prize in both the 2018 TEXOMA Hall Johnson Voice Competition and the (TMTA) Young Artist Voice Contest. Many have performed leading roles in High School and University productions, as well as at summer programs including the Brooklyn Academy of Music Summer Opera Institute (NY). Two of my students have performed in Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, while others have competed successfully in Solo and Ensemble competitions at High School levels. 

I obtained a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Durban, South Africa), a Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music - pursued while on a Fulbright Scholarship, an Artist Certificate from the Southern Methodist University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Voice Performance from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music, becoming the first South African woman to earn this qualification. I have taught at the Sam Houston State University (2012-2014), the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, TX, (2014-2016), and am currently the Associate Professor of Voice and Opera at the McLennan Community College in Waco, TX, where I teach applied voice, lyric French, Italian, and English diction, opera role study, audition and competition techniques. I have taught master classes in the United States and South Africa, and have served on various adjudication panels including the Amazwi Omzansi Africa Trust National Voice Competition (South Africa) in August 2015 and on a Fulbright interview panel in 2010. I was selected for the 2013 National Association of Teachers of Singing Intern Program, and participated in two teaching seminars with renowned artist-teacher, Barbara Honn in 2014 and 2018. I have been privileged to study with acclaimed coaches including Warren Jones, Martha Gerhart, Steven Blier, as well as with highly respected voice teachers: Colleen Philp, Hilda Harris, Barbara Hill Moore, Kenneth Shaw, and Barbara Honn. Their encouragement motivates me to maintain an active performing career while teaching and mentoring others. I have served as the TMTA Voice Contest Chair since January 2018, joined the Creative Waco Board (which supports arts entrepreneurship in Waco) in 2019, and have served on the Bruce Foote Foundation Board (which supports talented US and international voice students’ study at the Southern Methodist University) since 2014. I am excited to have the opportunity to do what I love while making a difference in aspiring artists' careers.

Thanks to the WACOAN magazine for selecting me as one of the interviewees for the "Inspired to teach" edition! http://www.wacoan.com/inspired-to-teach/

 

CONTACT: bronwenforbay@gmail.com

 

CREDITS

Mike Itashiki, FILMOGRAPHER
Val Adamson Photography
Jeffrey Arnold, Piano
Cape Town Opera
Brenton Greech (La Traviata, Cape Town Opera)
Shawn Northcutt Photography (Porgy and Bess)
Stuart Ralph (Lucia di Lammermoor, Cape Town Opera)
CHRISTINA BENTLY (ORPHEUS, WOLF TRAP OPERA COMPANY)