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Penelope Shumate

Penny 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 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 performances include return soloist engagements at both Carnegie Hall and David Geffen Hall (formerly Avery Fisher Hall) in New York. She can be heard as the soprano soloist on "Messiah Refreshed" (2020), an album recorded at London’s historic Abbey Road Studios with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. She will be heard in the title role on the upcoming album recording of Kassandra, an opera by Dr. Anthony Brandt, Professor of Composition and Theory and Chair of Composition and Theory at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music. Dr. Shumate created the title role of Kassandra at the world premiere at Opera in the Heights. She will also be heard as a soloist on the upcoming album release of the chamber music of James Stephenson. 

Her other upcoming and recent soloist engagements include performances in Messiah, Carmina Burana, Magnificat (Vivaldi), Te Deum (Dvořák), Symphony No. 9, Requiem (Mozart, Verdi, Fauré, and Rutter), The Creation, Vesperae solennes de confessore, Dona nobis pacem, Missa in tempore belli, Benedicite, Ein Deutsches Requiem, Laurie in The Tender Land, Pamina in The Magic Flute, Micaëla in Carmen, and the Aunt and Annabella in Helen, in addition to opera and musical theatre concerts, and recitals. Upcoming and recent performances include soloist appearances with Rapides Symphony Orchestra, Heartland Festival 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, Galesburg Community Chorus and Orchestra, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Opera in the Heights, Muddy River Opera Company, Opera on the James, Lyric Opera of Chicago Northfield Chapter Community, Fourth Presbyterian Church Concert Series in Chicago, Wayne Theatre Ross Performing Arts Center, and the Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra & Chorus. She has also performed as a soloist with the Opera Company of Philadelphia, Des Moines Metro Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Opera Roanoke, Baltimore Concert Opera, Lake George Opera (currently Sarasota Opera), Ash-Lawn Highland Summer Festival (currently Charlottesville Opera), Baltimore Opera, Duluth Festival Opera, Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra, Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, Kennett Symphony Orchestra, and the Berkshire Choral Festival.

In addition to her recent selection as the winner in the Oratorio Division of the American Prize and 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, 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 and placing in national and regional vocal competitions including the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions 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), she won the Provost's Award for Excellence in Scholarly/Creative/Performance/Professional Activities and was 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.