The WINNERS are:
PENELOPE SHUMATE, soprano
Penelope Shumate has been described as having a “voice with power” and a “welcome fire” on stage. Her singing was described by the New York Concert Review as “the embodiment of light.” 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, the Verdi and Mozart Requiem, as well as the New York City premier of Paul Mealor’s Stabat Mater. Also in New York City, she performed the title role in Naughty Marietta in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center.
Her upcoming return engagements include her appearance in Messiah at Carnegie Hall presented by Distinguished Concerts International New York, as well as performing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Rapides Symphony Orchestra. She also debuts with the Heartland Festival Orchestra in Carmina Burana.
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, Opera on the James, Duluth Festival Opera, Jacksonville Lyric Opera, Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Berkshire Choral Festival, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Acadiana Symphony Orchestra, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, MidAmerica Productions, Glens Falls Symphony Orchestra, and Kennett Symphony Orchestra.
In 2015, Penelope was recognized by The American Prize for "Excellence in Oratorio Performance." She has been a vocal 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. In addition to her active performance career, she serves as Assistant Professor of Voice at Western Illinois University. www.penelopeshumate.com
STEPHEN LANCASTER, baritone
Described as “a fine storyteller” (American Record Guide), “varied in tone and alive to feeling” (Fanfare Magazine), baritone Stephen Lancaster engages audiences through diverse repertoire in concert, recital, and opera. He has been featured in venues around the world, including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Chicago Cultural Center, Chiang-Kai Shek Memorial Hall, Centro Cultural de Belém, Petit Palau de la Música Catalana, and Vatroslav Lisinski Concert Hall.
Recent concert credits include the Fauré & Duruflé Requiem at Carnegie Hall with Distinguished Concerts International New York, Carmina Burana with Lisbon Summer Fest, Warren Symphony, and Oakland Symphony Orchestra at the Max M. Fisher Music Center; Rachmaninoff’s The Bells and Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast with Holland Symphony; Brahms’ Requiem with Chorosynthesis in Seattle and Duruflé’s Requiem with Macalester College in St. Paul. He has performed numerous roles with Eugene Opera, Arbor Opera Theater, and Opera Notre Dame, and will create the role of Jaques in As You Like It by Roger Steptoe this season.
A passionate recitalist, Lancaster has performed Lieder programs in Paris, Frankfurt, and the Eure-et-Loire Festival, and for the Brooklyn Art Song Society in New York. He recently released a recording of French art songs with pianist Martin Katz, Le Menu des Mélodies (Centaur Records), and his recital on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series was broadcast live by classical radio station WFMT. Born and raised in Canada, he holds degrees in vocal performance from the University of Notre Dame and the University of Michigan. www.stephenlancaster.net
The selection process for the Chicago Oratorio Award is separate from The American Prize judging. Winning one competition does not preclude the possibility of winning the other.
The American Prize has selected soloists to perform with the Chicago Bar Association Symphony and Chorus the last five years, in repertoire ranging from the Bruckner Te Deum and Beethoven Choral Fantasy, to a complete evening of opera excerpts and another featuring the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein.
To learn more about the CBASO & Chorus, please click here.
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