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Jerod Tate and other Chickasaws featured in San Francisco Symphony performance

First Americans receive discounted access


Chickasaw classical music composer Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate as seen on the San Francisco Symphony's virtual presentation of "CURRENTS: Thunder Song" available at

SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Symphony will feature Chickasaw classical music composer Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate with a virtual presentation of "CURRENTS: Thunder Song" available at beginning 10 a.m., April 1.

The program will also feature the visual art of Chickasaws Dustin Mater and Joshua D. Hinson.

First Americans can access the $15 show for $1 with the promotional code SFSPLUSTATE (San Francisco Symphony plus Tate).

"CURRENTS: Thunder Song" explores the intersection of First American and classical musical cultures, featuring compositions by Tate alongside Louis W. Ballard (Quapaw/Cherokee) and Rochelle Chester (Diné).

It is the next installment of the San Francisco Symphony's CURRENTS video series, launched July 2020, which intersects classical music with varied musical cultures. The goal is to explore connections and the ways cultures influence each other.

In total, CURRENTS will include five video episodes curated by a guest artist – such as Tate – while bringing their unique expertise and knowledge of a particular musical culture, featuring performances by those guest artists alongside members of the San Francisco Symphony.

"I just finished recording with the San Francisco Orchestra for its online 'Currents' presentation," Tate said recently. "Due to COVID-19, everyone is isolated in a studio and socially distanced. It is an online program where they are featuring music from different ethnicities, and they asked me to curate the program for its First American series.

"I chose the repertoire and conducted it. The San Francisco Orchestra has really embraced online and web-based musical performances since COVID-19 effectively has ended live performances for the foreseeable future," Tate said.

Viewers can anticipate performances of Tate's own compositions "Talowa' Hiloha" and "Chokfi'," as well as an arrangement by Tate and Elder Thomas Leon Brown aka Machuchuk of the Traditional Pomo Shakehead song "Hoy-Ya-A." Other performances include Rochelle Chester's "Moon's Lullaby," and selections from Louis W. Ballard's "Katcina Dances," featuring musicians of the San Francisco Symphony.

"First Americans are beautiful, brilliant and resilient. We have magnificent, intelligent and creative minds," Tate said. "We are ancient and modern, traditional and adaptive. We are proud, and we are the backbone and spirit of this country. We are supportive of each other's communities and often express this through our art. And through art, we all come together as one people."

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About Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate

Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate is a classical composer and citizen of the Chickasaw Nation. He was born in 1968 in Norman, Oklahoma, and is a 2011 Emmy Award winner.

His work has been performed by orchestras across the nation, including the National Symphony Orchestra; San Francisco Symphony and Chorus; Philadelphia Classical Symphony; the Santa Fe Desert Chorale; Canterbury Voices; Colorado Ballet; and Oklahoma City Philharmonic.

His work also has been performed internationally by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.

Tate's recent commissions include a bassoon concerto, "Ghost of the White Deer," for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra; his Chickasaw oratorio, "Misha' Sipokni', for Canterbury Voices and the OKC Philharmonic, and his "Ponca Indian Cantata" for Hildegard Center for the Arts.

His music has also been featured in the popular HBO television series "Westworld."

Tate's accolades include being a three-time classical commissioning program recipient from the American Composers Forum, a Cleveland Institute of Music Alumni Achievement Award, appointed creativity ambassador for the state of Oklahoma and an Emmy Award winner for his work on "The Science of Composing," an Oklahoma Educational Television Authority documentary.

Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate

As an educator, Tate is dedicated to the development of First American compositions and has worked with the music and language of multiple tribes outside the Chickasaw Nation, including Choctaw, Cherokee, Navajo, Hopi, Shawnee, Creek, Lakota, Caddo and Shoshone.

Tate earned a bachelor's degree in piano performance from Northwestern University and a master's in piano performance and composition from the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Tate's middle name, Impichchaachaaha', means "high corncrib" and is his inherited traditional Chickasaw house name. A corn crib is a small hut used for the storage of corn and other vegetables. In traditional Chickasaw culture, the corn crib was built high off the ground on stilts to keep its contents safe from foraging animals.


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