School of Music



Dr. Penelope Shumate

Office Location: Studio (G), Browne Hall
Office Phone: (309) 298-1544
Title: Assistant Professor, Music in Voice

Praised by The New York Times for her singing with "bell-like clarity and surpassing sweetness," and complimented by The New York Concert Review for "her sparkling coloratura perfection" and "beautiful, flexible, dramatic voice," Dr. Penelope Shumate’s recent engagements include her debut and return appearances in David Geffen Hall (formerly Avery Fisher Hall) at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York City, where she has also appeared in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center.

Her upcoming engagements include returning to Carnegie Hall to perform Messiah presented by Distinguished Concerts International New York; this work also marks her debut with the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra. She will also perform her recital, "Of Love and Peace" for her debut with the Fourth Presbyterian Church Concert Series in Chicago. For her debut with the Galesburg Community Chorus and Orchestra she will perform Dona nobis pacem and Missain tempore belli. She will also perform in a holiday concert with the Peoria Area Civic Chorale.

She was complimented by the New York Concert Review for her recent performance in Messiah presented by Distinguished Concerts International New York at David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center; “Soprano Penelope Shumate was a real find for me, with a voice that has been described previously in the New York Concert Review as “radiant,” and I can see why. The clear tones were true and expressive, one of the best “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion” that I have ever heard live. Her “I know that my redeemer liveth” was lovely.” Dr. Shumate's other recent engagements include debuts and return appearances with Rapides Symphony Orchestra, Acadiana Symphony Orchestra, and Heartland Festival Orchestra (Carmina Burana and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9), Quincy Symphony Orchestra Association (“Ah! Perfido,” Op. 65), the Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra (Carols and Candles), the Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra (Symphony No. 9), The Virginia Consort (Requiem/Rutter), Muddy River Opera (Micaëla in Carmen), the Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra & Chorus (Benedicite and Ein Deutches Requiem). At Carnegie Hall, she has also appeared as a soloist in both the Mozart and Verdi Requiem, Carmina Burana, Coronation Mass, St. Nicolai Mass, and Stabat Mater by living composer, Paul Mealor.

She has appeared with opera companies and orchestras across America including Opera Company of Philadelphia, Opera Roanoke, Lake George Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Ash Lawn Opera, Annapolis Opera, Baltimore Concert Opera, Baltimore Opera, Jacksonville Lyric Opera, Concert Opera Philadelphia, Duluth Festival Opera, Opera on the James, Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra, Berkshire Choral Festival, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, Canterbury Choral Society, Glens Falls Symphony Orchestra, Kennett Symphony Orchestra, MidAmerica Productions, Little Orchestra Society of New York, Drexel University Chorus and Orchestra, Lynchburg College Choral Union and Orchestra, Luzerne Music Festival, and Rockwell Productions, among others.

In addition to her recent selection as the winner of the Chicago Oratorio Award, she has also been an award winner with the Gerda Lissner Foundation, Marie E. Crump Vocal Arts Competition, MacAllister Awards, New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera Vocal Competition, American Prize, Annapolis Opera Vocal Competition, The American Prize, Octave Artist Management Excellence in Arts, James Parkinson Opera Competition, Kennett Symphony Orchestra Vocal Competition, and the Altamura/Caruso International Vocal Competition.

At Western Illinois University, Dr. Shumate was the recipient of the 2017 College of Fine Arts and Communication Award of Excellence for Scholarly, Creative, Performing, and Professional Activities. In addition to her professional performance career, she is also an active soloist at WIU, and has performed with the Wind Ensemble, the Chamber Orchestra, University Singers, and has appeared in solo recitals and the Faculty Chamber Music concerts. She also performed the role of Rose in The World is Round, an opera by WIU faculty member, Dr. Paul Paccione.

Dr. Shumate holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree (summa cum laude) from Louisiana State University, a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Temple University, and Bachelor of Science degrees in Vocal Performance and Radio and T.V. Communication from Radford University.

WIU Music Faculty members, Dr. Penelope Shumate, Dr. John McMurtery, and Professor Eric Ginsberg, perform Copland's "As it fell upon a day."

Dr. Penelope Shumate and, Associate Professor of Piano, Dr. Jeffrey Brown perform "Amor y odio" by Granados

Dr. Penelope Shumate and, Associate Professor of Piano, Dr. Jeffrey Brown perform "Ich wollt ein Sträusslein binden" by Strauss