School of Music


Dr. Penelope Shumate Shumate1

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

In her performance career, Penelope Shumate has been described as having a "voice with power" and a "welcome fire" on stage. The New York Times has described her singing as having "bell-like clarity and surpassing sweetness," and The New York Concert Review has complimented "her sparkling coloratura perfection" and her "beautiful, flexible, dramatic voice." Her 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. For her return appearances with the Heartland Festival Orchestra in Illinois, and the Rapides Symphony Orchestra in Louisiana, she will perform Beethoven's Symphony No. 9. She will debut with the Muddy River Opera Company in Illinois, singing the role of Micaëla in Carmen. In Chicago, she debuts with the Fourth Presbyterian Church Concert Series with her recital, "Of Love and Peace." Returning with the Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, she will perform the Vaughan Williams Benedicite.

For the 2015-2016 season, she returned for her twelfth to Carnegie Hall, where she performed in the Mozart Requiem and the NYC premiere of Mealor's Stabat Mater, presented by Distinguished Concerts International New York. The New York Concert Review described her singing as "the embodiment of light." Her soloist debuts included appearances with the Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra & Chorus (Requiem/Brahms), the Heartland Festival Orchestra (Carmina Burana), the Quincy Symphony Orchestra Association ("Ah! perfido" Op. 65), the Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra ("Carols and Candles"), The Virginia Consort (Requiem/Rutter), and the Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra (Symphony No. 9). She was also selected as the winner of the 2016 Chicago Oratorio Award.

Other recent engagements include her third appearance in David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center where she performed in Messiah presented by Distinguished Concerts International New York. "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" (The New York Concert Review). She appeared in this same work with Peoria's Cathedral of St. Mary. Returning to Carnegie Hall, she performed in the Verdi Requiem, also presented by DCINY. "Penelope Shumate created some lovely pianissimo floaty high notes, and these were her best quality, which is no small achievement." (The New York Concert Review). She also performed a recital and presented a Master Class at Liberty University. For her debut with the McDonough Choral Society, she performed in Fauré's Requiem. Returning to Acadiana Symphony Orchestra, she appeared in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9.

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, Distinguished Concerts International New York, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Acadiana Symphony Orchestra, Rapides Symphony Orchestra, 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.

She is an award winner with the Gerda Lissner Foundation, Marie E. Crump Vocal Arts Competition, MacAllister Awards, New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera Vocal Competition, Annapolis Opera Vocal Competition, Kennett Symphony Orchestra Vocal Competition, The American Prize, and the Altamura/Caruso International Vocal Competition, among others.

Dr. Shumate holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Vocal Performance from Radford University, a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Temple University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree (summa cum laude) from Louisiana State 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 Spring from Six Elizabethan Songs by Argento.

Dr. Penelope Shumate and WIU Collaborative Pianist, Po-Chuan Chiang, perform Venere bella from Giulio Cesare by Handel

Dr. Penelope Shumate and Associate Professor of Piano, Dr. Jeffrey Brown, perform Le tombeau des Naïades from Chansons de Bilitis by Debussy