School of Music


Dr. Penelope Shumate Shumate1

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

Dr. Shumate serves as Assistant Professor of Music in Voice. In her performance career, she has been described as having a "voice with power" and a "welcome fire" on stage. The New York Times praised her recent performance as the Soprano Soloist in Messiah for her Avery Fisher Hall debut at Lincoln Center, stating she "sang the soprano solos with appealing bell-like clarity and surpassing sweetness." For her return to Avery Fisher Hall, she performed as a soloist in Carmina Burana; a work that also marked her Carnegie Hall debut and return engagements. Additional Carnegie Hall soloist appearances include performances in Messiah, St. Nicolai Mass, Coronation Mass, and the Verdi Requiem. Also in New York City, she performed the title role in Naughty Marietta in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center.

This season she returns to Carnegie Hall as the Soprano Soloist in Messiah presented by Distinguished Concerts International New York. She also debuts as a soloist with the Heartland Festival Orchestra in Carmina Burana, and with the Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra in their Annual Holiday Concert. With the Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra, she will debut as the Soprano Soloist in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9; this work also marks her upcoming return engagement with Rapides Symphony Orchestra. In addition, she was recently selected as a finalist in the vocal division of The American Prize.

Other recent engagements include her third appearance in Avery Fisher 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.

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.

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, and the Altamura/Caruso International Vocal Competition, among others.

WIU Music Faculty members, Dr. Penelope Shumate, Dr. Liang-yu Wang, and Professor Eric Ginsberg, perform the finale from Schubert's Der Hirt auf dem Felsen.

Dr. Penelope Shumate and Associate Professor of Piano, Dr. Jeffrey Brown, perform Spring from Six Elizabethan Songs by Argento.

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