Bronwen Forbay

Bronwen Forbay

Associate Professor in Voice

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Hailed by Opera Magazine as “At once powerful, radiant, timbrally beautiful, and balanced throughout the range, her soprano is that of a singer at the top of her game”, Durban-born South African Fulbrighter DR. BRONWEN FORBAY’S operatic successes include critically acclaimed performances of Mozart’s Queen of the Night (The Magic Flute) with the Wolf Trap Opera Company, Eugene Opera, and Tulsa Opera. Other celebrated roles include Orasia, Queen of Thrace (U. S. premier of Telemann’s Orpheus), Adina (L’Elisir d’amore), Velmyra (Wading Home) by Mary Alice Rich, Violetta (La Traviata), and the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor with the Cape Town Opera. Concert appearances as a soloist include standard and modern works including Bach’s B Minor Mass (Santa Fe), Handel’s Creation (Cincinnati), Mozart’s Requiem (on tour in Northern Italy: Venice, Verona, Vicenza), Mendelssohn’s Elijah (Dallas), Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis (Tulsa), Miller’s ReWind Cantata for Voice, Tape, and Testimony (Royal Festival Hall, London), and Mnomiya’s Ingqai sivele we-Africa (Durban). An avid recitalist, Forbay has performed throughout South Africa, the US, and Europe at notable venues including the American Cathedral in Paris (France) Les Arts Georges V recital series, and with Dr. Stephen Pierce (piano) at the University of Southern California (Los Angeles). Successful in several voice competitions, Forbay was awarded the 2007 Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Music (a prestigious national South African award whose recipients include Pretty Yende). Selected for the renowned NATS Intern Program in 2013, Forbay has presented at DFW NATS, TEXOMA NATS, National NATS, CMS National Conferences, and ICVT. She is a highly sought-after adjudicator and clinician and frequently serves in this capacity for the Schmidt Vocal Arts Organization.

An Associate Professor of Voice at Furman University (Greenville, SC, USA), Dr. Forbay served on faculty at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Durban, South Africa) while fulfilling her Fulbright two-year homestay requirement. She has taught at the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor (Belton, TX), Sam Houston State University (Huntsville, TX), and the McLennan Community College (Waco, TX). Dr. Forbay holds degrees from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Manhattan School of Music, Southern Methodist University, University of Cincinnati, CCM, and is the first South African woman to earn a DMA in Voice Performance. She served as TMTA Voice Contest Chair from 2018-2021, is a member of the NATS International Advisory Committee, is President-elect of Furman’s Black Faculty and Staff Association, and is the Treasurer of the South Africa Chapter, NATS. Forbay’s research interest focuses on illuminating DEI in Afrikaans Art Song Literature and exposing it to a wider audience. Two articles on Afrikaans Lyric Diction co-authored with colleague Dr. Christian Bester were published in the NATS Journal of Singing in 2022. Afrikaans Art Song Literature: Translation and Pronunciation Guide also coauthored with Dr. Bester, will be published by OUP in 2024.

Honors & Awards

  • Fulbright Scholarship Award to pursue Master of Music study at the Manhattan School of Music (2000-2002)
  • 2nd Prize Winner and Audience Choice Award, Opera Birmingham Voice Competition (2003)
  • Schollmaier Foundation Scholarship Award, Southern Methodist University (2002-2004)
  • Winner of the Meadows Concerto Competition, Southern Methodist University (2004
  • Winner of the 1st UNISA Southern African Voice Competition (2005)
  • Most Outstanding Performance in an Opera, Sam Adams Award, University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music (2005)
  • Most Promising South African Opera Singer Award, South African Music Rights Organization (SAMRO) (2006)
  • 3rd Prize Winner, 5th UNISA International Voice Competition (Opera Category) (2006)
  • 3rd Prize Winner, Corbett Competition, Russel-Seybold Award, University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music (2006)
  • Catherine Filene Shouse Career Grant for Singers, Wolf Trap Opera Company (2007)
  • Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Music, a prestigious national South African Award whose recipients include soprano Pretty Yende (2007)
  • National Association of Teachers of Singing, Intern Program (2013)
  • Orpheus Award, Phi Mui Alpha Sinfonia, Gamma Eta Chapter, Furman University (2021-2022)
  • Furman University Faculty Development Teaching Grant to attend the Barbara Honn Teaching Seminar (2023)


  • B. Mus., University of KwaZulu-Natal (Durban, South Africa)
  • M. Mus., Manhattan School of Music (New York, NY)
  • Artist Certificate., Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX)
  • DMA., University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music (Cincinnati, OH)

Research Interests

  • Afrikaans Art Song Literature Lyric Diction and Reperoire
  • Lyric Diction: Italian, German, French, English (Received Pronunciation, Mid-Atlantic and American Standard)
  • Bel canto and the Italian School of Singing
  • Competition and Audition Preparation
  • Opera Role Study


  • "Afrikaans Art Song: A Stylistic Study and Performance Guide,";
  • "An Introduction to Afrikaans Art Song Literature: Origins and Repertoire," Journal of Singing, Volume 78, Number 4, March/April 2022;
  • "An Introduction to Afrikaans Art Songs: A Guide to Lyric Diction," Journal of Singing, Volume 78, Number 4, March/April 2022

Additional Professional Activities

  • Treasurer, South Africa Chapter NATS
  • Member, NATS International Advisory CommitteeRegular Schmidt Vocal Arts Masterclass Clinician and Adjudicator