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Penelope Shumate

Penelope Shumate

Assistant Professor



DMA - Vocal Performance and Vocal Pedagogy - Louisiana State University

M.M. - Opera and Vocal Performance - Temple University

B.S. - Vocal Performance and Radio and T.V. Broadcasting - Radford University

Praised by The New York Times for singing with “bell-like clarity and surpassing sweetness,” The New York Concert Review for “her sparkling coloratura perfection,” and in Opera News magazine, “the mellifluous soprano Penelope Shumate puts her lines across with sincerity and attractive lucidity,” her recent engagements include numerous soprano soloist appearances at Carnegie Hall and David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City. She can be heard as the soprano soloist on “Messiah Refreshed” (Signum Records) recorded at historic Abbey Road Studios with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London, England, and as the soprano soloist on “As the fireflies watched . . . chamber music of James Stephenson” (Klavier Records). She can also be heard in the title role of “Kassandra” (Parma/Navona Records), a new opera for which she also created the role in the world premiere at Opera in the Heights. This 2023-2024 season marks her 18th soloist appearance at Carnegie Hall in New York City where she will perform Messiah with Distinguished Concerts International New York. Additional soloist engagements include appearances with Paducah Symphony Orchestra in Mahler's Symphony No. 4, Lansing Symphony Orchestra in Carmina Burana, and Opéra Louisiane in the role of Hélène in their opera production of Hell's Bell (Le Timbre d'Argent). She also performs her "Bach to Broadway" recital at the Clarksville First Presbyterian Church.

As a professional opera singer, her performed roles include Adina in L’Elisir d’Amore, Pamina and Papagena in The Magic Flute, Micaëla in Carmen, Laurie in The Tender Land, Violetta in La Traviata, Galatea in Acis and Galatea, Adele in Die Fledermaus, Musetta in La Bohème, Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Hanna in The Merry Widow, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Belinda in Dido and Aeneas, Miss Silverpeal in The Impressario, and Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, among many others. As a professional concert soloist, she has performed Messiah, The Creation, Vesperae Solennes de Confessore, Symphony No. 9 (Beethoven), La Pasión según San Marcos, Carmina Burana, Magnificat (Bach and Vivaldi), Te Deum (Dvořák), Symphony No. 2 (Mahler), Requiem (Mozart, Verdi, Fauré, Rutter), Missa in Tempore Belli, Benedicite, Dona Nobis Pacem, Stabat Mater (Mealor), Ein Deutsches Requiem, Elijah, Theresienmesse, St. Nicolai Mass, Coronation Mass, and Dixit Dominus (Vivaldi), among others. She has performed with opera companies and orchestras across America including Opera Company of Philadelphia, Opera Roanoke, Des Moines Metro Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Annapolis Opera, Opera on the James, Baltimore Concert Opera, Opera in the Heights, Lake George Opera (now Sarasota Opera), Ash-Lawn Highland Summer Festival (now Charlottesville Opera), Baltimore Opera, Duluth Festival Opera, Muddy River Opera Company, Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra, Oklahoma Philharmonic, Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, Heartland Festival Orchestra, Gateway Chamber Orchestra, Rapides Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Kennett Symphony Orchestra, Distinguished Concerts International New York, Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra, Morton Community Chorus and Orchestra, Peoria Area Civic Choral, Quincy Symphony Orchestra Association, Downers Grove Choral Society, Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra, The Virginia Consort, and the Galesburg Community Chorus and Orchestra, among others. She has also been at featured soloist with the Fourth Presbyterian Church Concert Series in Chicago, Wayne Theatre Ross Performing Arts Center, and the Berkshire Choral Festival. 

She has been an award winner in the Oratorio Division of the American Prize and in the Chicago Oratorio Award, as well as 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, Octave Artist Management Excellence in Arts, James Parkinson Opera Competition, Kennett Symphony Orchestra Vocal Competition, and the Altamura/Caruso International Vocal Competition.

Her voice students' successes include winning awards, placing, and advancing in national and regional vocal competitions including the Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition and NATS (classical and musical theatre), being hired for professional performance engagements, being selected for international and national voice training programs, winning awards to attend prestigious graduate programs, performing roles in university Opera Theatre productions, appearing as soloists with university ensembles, and being awarded vocal scholarships.

While serving on the voice faculty at Western Illinois University (2014-2021), where she achieved tenure and was Associate Professor of Voice and Director of the Opera Workshop, she was the only vocalist in the institutions' history to win the Provost's Award for Excellence in Scholarly/Creative/Performance/Professional Activities and was also a two-time winner of the College of Fine Arts and Communication Dean's Award of Excellence for Creative/Performing Activities. 

Dr. Shumate received her DMA in Vocal Performance with a minor in Vocal Pedagogy from Louisiana State University, an M.M. in Opera and Vocal Performance from Temple University, and B.S. degrees in Vocal Performance and Radio and T.V. Broadcasting.

Visit www.penelopeshumate.com  to learn more about her performing and teaching career.

  • "Messiah Refreshed" - Signum Records - Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London recorded at Abbey Road Studios
  • "Kassandra" - Navona Records
  • “As the fireflies watched . . .the chamber music of James Stephenson” - Klavier Records
  • “Chauncey Packer: Career Endurance through Belief and Joy” - Classical Singer Magazine
  • “A soprano’s challenges with total body hair loss" - Classical Singer Magazine