CAMRA's Artistic Directors

Colin Forbes


On graduating from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Colin Forbes became Lecturer in Piano at the Conservatorium as well as pianist and percussionist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. He later joined the Australian Opera as a repetiteur and has also worked with other leading concert organisations including the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Synergy and the Australia Ensemble.

A study tour of Germany took Colin to the Essen Hochschule to study piano with Paul Badura Skoda. Colin subsequently taught and performed in Germany. On returning to Australia he became Head of Keyboard at Ascham School in Sydney, later moving to Canberra in 1992 to take up the position of repetiteur at the Canberra School of Music. Colin gave sonata recitals with the violinist Erich Binder (Concert Master of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra) on both of his visits to Australia.

In 1997 Colin helped to establish the Canberra Academy of Music and Related Arts, where he was Artistic Director and principal piano teacher. Under CAMRA's auspices, Colin has performed the complete piano sonatas of Mozart, prepared the music and staging of award winning productions of several Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, The Beggar's Opera, the liturgical opera Ordo Virtutum by Hildegard von Bingen, and Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro.

Colin has given many concerts in Canberra as both soloist and accompanist. In association with St Philip's, he has prepared and conducted numerous orchestral masses and directed performances of Handel's Messiah and Bach's St John Passion.


Patricia Whitbread

Co-Director and Vocal Coach

Patricia began seriously studying singing at the age if 19, under the tutelage of Alice Mallon-Muir in Perth, WA. She was successful in many competitions, including the ABC's Instrumental and Vocal (State and Commonwealth Finalist), and the Metropolitan Opera Auditions (Commonwealth Finalist, regional winner in Hawaii in 1974, and Australian representative at the Finals in New York). In these early years, she performed principal roles with the Western Australian Opera Company and Victorian State Opera.

Patricia was a trainee principal with Opera Australia in 1975 and 1976, and was awarded an Opera Foundation Scholarship to study in West Germany (1977). From 1978-1980, she was a principal singer with Opera Australia, and returned to West Germany to perform and teach from 1980-84.

After returning to Australia, Patricia taught and performed extensively in Sydney and Canberra. She was for some years President of the ACT Chapter of the Australian National Association of Teachers of Singing. Her wealth of vocal and stage experience was seen in many of CAMRA's productions. It was a great sadness when Pat died on 10 September 2019 after a long illness.