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.

A recipient of the Chicago Oratorio Award, 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 recent and upcoming 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), Roanoke Symphony Orchestra (Messiah), Quincy Symphony Orchestra Association ("Ah! Perfido," Op. 65), Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra (Carols and Candles), Peoria Area Civic Chorale (Holiday Favorites), Galesburg Community Chorus and Orchestra (Dona nobis pacem and Missa in tempore belli), Oklahoma City Philharmonic and Southern Illinois University (Carmina Burana), Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra (Symphony No. 9), The Virginia Consort (Requiem/Rutter), McDonough Choral Society (Requiem/Rutter and Fauré) Muddy River Opera Company (Pamina in Die Zauberflöte and Micaëla in Carmen), Lyric Opera of Chicago Northfield Chapter Community (Opera Favorites), Fourth Presbyterian Church Concert Series in Chicago and Drake University ("Of Love and Peace"), the Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra & Chorus (Benedicite and Ein Deutches Requiem), Opera on the James (Opera Gala), and the Burlington Chamber Music Concert Series (Chamber Music by Copland, Rodrigo, and Vaughan Williams). At Carnegie Hall and David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City, she has also appeared as a soloist in both the Mozart and Verdi Requiem, Carmina Burana, Coronation Mass, St. Nicolai Mass, Messiah, 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, she is the recipient of the College Of Fine Arts and Communication Award of Excellence for Scholarly/Creative/Performing Activities for both 2018 and 2017. In addition to her active professional performance career, she is also a frequent soloist at WIU and has performed with the Wind Ensemble, the Chamber Orchestra, University Singers, and has appeared in solo recitals and in the Faculty Chamber Music concerts. She also created the role of Rose in The World is Round, an opera by WIU faculty member, Dr. Paul Paccione.

Her WIU voice students' off-campus successes include being selected for international and national voice training programs, winning and placing in regional vocal competitions, and being hired for professional performance engagements. At WIU, her students' successes include being selected as winners of the School of Music Aria/Concerto Competition for both 2018 and 2017, performing leading and supporting roles in the Opera Theatre main-stage productions, appearing as soloists with university ensembles, Opera Workshop, and Student Showcase Convocation concerts, and being awarded vocal scholarships.

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.

Visit to learn more about her professional performance and teaching career.

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 Dr. John McMurtery, perform "Verde Verderol" from Dos Poemas de Juan Ramón Jiménez by Joaquin Rodrigo.

Dr. Penelope Shumate and Professor Eric Ginsberg, perform "Quasi Menuetto" from Three Vocalises by R. Vaughan Williams.