Chickasaw composer appointed cultural ambassador by U.S. Department of State


Chickasaw composer Jerod Tate

NEW YORK - Chickasaw classical music composer Jerod 'Impichchaachaaha' Tate is one of 31 cultural ambassadors appointed to the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Tate's appointment will take him on a monthlong, multi-country virtual tour where he will engage with international audiences through public concerts, interactive performances with local musicians, lectures and demonstrations, workshops, jam sessions and media interviews.

The endeavor is through the U.S. Department of State's American Music Abroad Program for the 2021- 2022 season.

"As a U.S. Department of State cultural ambassador, I have the unique privilege of expanding the world's view of modern North American Indians. Through the lens of a Chickasaw classical composer, global citizens will be able to experience Indian Country amid symphonic expression. I cannot wait to get started," Tate said.

Tate strongly identifies with his Chickasaw culture and includes it in all of his compositions. American Music Abroad activities focus on younger and underserved audiences in countries where people have few opportunities to meet American performers and experience their music firsthand.

Born in Norman, Oklahoma, Tate resides in Oklahoma City and is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, the 12th largest First American tribe in the United States.

Tate is dedicated to the development of First American classical composition. Tate's recent commissions include "Shellshaker: A Chickasaw Opera" for Mount Holyoke Symphony Orchestra; "Ghost of the White Deer," concerto for bassoon and orchestra for Dallas Symphony Orchestra; and "Hózhó (Navajo Strong)" and "Ithánali (I Know)" for White Snake Opera Company. He recently hosted San Francisco Symphony's "Currents" series and curated a performance by the ETHEL Quartet at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

His music has been featured on the HBO television series "Westworld."

Tate has held composer-in-residence positions for Music Alive, a national residency program of the League of American Orchestras and New Music USA, the Joyce Foundation/ American Composers Forum, Oklahoma City's New View Summer Academy, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation and Grand Canyon Music Festival Native American Composer Apprentice Project.

Tate was the founding composition instructor for the Chickasaw Summer Arts Academy and has taught composition to First American high school students in Minneapolis and Toronto, as well as the Hopi, Navajo and Lummi reservations.

Tate is a three-time commissioned recipient from the American Composers Forum, a Chamber Music America's Classical Commissioning Program recipient, a Cleveland Institute of Music Alumni Achievement Award recipient, a governor appointed Oklahoma Creativity Ambassador and an Emmy Award winner for his work on the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority documentary, "The Science of Composing."

In addition to his work based upon his Chickasaw heritage, Tate has worked with the music and language of multiple tribes, including Choctaw, Navajo, Cherokee, Ojibway, Muscogee, Pechanga, Comanche, Lakota, Hopi, Tlingit, Lenape, Tongva, Shawnee, Caddo, Ute, Aleut, Shoshone, Cree, Paiute and Salish/ Kootenai.

Among available recorded works are "Iholba' (The Vision)" for solo flute, orchestra and chorus, and "Tracing Mississippi," concerto for flute and orchestra, recorded by the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, on the Grammy Award winning label "Azica Records."

His most recent release, "Lowak Shoppala'," is a fusion of modern classical music and theater in eight scenes featuring orchestra, narration of a libretto by Chickasaw poet and Pulitzer Prize finalist Linda Hogan, children's chorus, traditional Chickasaw and classical vocal soloists, and First American storytellers. Each scene depicts a part of Chickasaw culture and history performed in the Chickasaw language.

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


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