"Striking bass and presence..."
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Musa Ngqungwana, Biography

Bass-baritone Musa Ngqungwana, a native of Port Elizabeth, South Africa,​has been praised by The New York Times for his “rich, glowing voice and elegant legato,” and by The Wall Street Journal as “a powerful bass-baritone.”


He has performed the title role in The Glimmerglass Festival’s production of Porgy and Bess, Amonasro in Aida with English National Opera,​and Angelotti in Tosca with the Canadian Opera Company, in addition to debuts at The Glimmerglass Festival as Gottardo in La gazza ladra,​at Los Angeles Opera as Queequeg in Moby Dick, at both the Norwegian National Opera and Palm Beach Opera as Zuniga in Carmen, at Dallas Opera in the company’s production of Eugene Onegin, where he also performed the role of Queequeg in Moby Dick, and at Washington National Opera as Colline in La bohème, where he also sang the role of Stephen Kumalo in Lost in the Stars.


His concert work has included featured performances with The Philadelphia Orchestra, as well as at the U.S. Naval Academy, and at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa. Mr. Ngqungwana’s vocal promise continues to be recognized nationally and internationally. In 2014, he was nominated for the Marian Anderson Award at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. He was also the 2014 winner of the Cesare Santeremo / Dr. Campbell Award from Opera Index in New York City, and a third prize winner of the Giulio Gari and Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competitions.


In 2013, Mr. Ngqungwana was the Grand Finals Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a recipient of the Lissner Charitable Award from the Licia Albanese / Puccini International Vocal Competition, and the recipient of the Apollo Music Trust. Further recognitions include the 2011 Oppenheimer Memorial Trust award and the 2010 winner of the WBHO / Jan Kaminski Award.

Mr. Ngqungwana was a finalist in the 29th International Hans Gabor Belvedere Competition in Vienna, Austria, where he was awarded the “Die Zeit” prize. Additionally, he was the 2009 winner of the International Turandot Competition organized by the International Institute for Opera and Poetry for the role of Ping, and the 2007 winner of the Schock Prize for Singing at the Baxter Theater in Cape Town. Musa is also the 2015 recipient of the Standard Bank Young Artist through the National Arts Festival of South Africa.

Throughout his career, Mr. Ngqungwana has worked with internationally renowned stage directors and conductors including Emmanuel Villaume, Paul Curran, Francesca Zambello, Philippe Auguin, Marco Armiliato, Calixto Bieito, Fabien Gabel, Corrado Rovaris, Thaddeus Strassberger, Gianfranco Debosio, and Keri-Lynn Wilson.

Mr. Ngqungwana graduated with Honors in Performance (First Class) from the University of Cape Town and is also a graduate of the prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA) in Philadelphia.



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