Jerod Tate – Chickasaw Classical composer

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July 27, 2021

Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate, is a classical composer, citizen of the Chickasaw Nation in Oklahoma and is dedicated to the development of American Indian classical composition.

His Washington Post review states that “Tate is rare as an American Indian composer of classical music. Rarer still is his ability to effectively infuse classical music with American Indian nationalism.” Tate’s recent commissions include his bassoon concerto, Ghost of the White Deer, for Dallas Symphony
Orchestra, his Chickasaw oratorio, Misha’ Sipokni’ (The Old Ground), for Canterbury Voices and Oklahoma City Philharmonic and Standing Bear: A Ponca Indian Cantata for Hildegard Center for the Arts. His music was recently featured on the HBO series Westworld.

His commissioned works have been performed by the National Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony and Chorus, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, Colorado Ballet, Canterbury Voices, Dale Warland Singers, Santa Fe Desert Chorale and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.
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 NewView 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 American Indian high school students in Minneapolis, the Hopi, Navajo and Lummi reservations and Native students in Toronto.

Mr. 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 Creativity Ambassador for the State of Oklahoma 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 culture, Tate has worked with the music and language of multiple tribes, such as: Choctaw, Navajo, Cherokee, Ojibway, Creek, 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. Tate earned his Bachelor Degree in Piano Performance from Northwestern University, where he studied
with Dr. Donald Isaak, and his Masters Degree in Piano Performance and Composition from The Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Elizabeth Pastor and Dr. Donald Erb. He has
performed as First Keyboard on the Broadway national tours of Les Misérables and Miss Saigon and been a guest pianist and accompanist for the Colorado Ballet, Hartford Ballet and numerous ballet and dance companies.

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

Chair of the Day

Senator Julia Kirt is an experienced community leader who has led statewide nonprofit organizations for almost 20 years. She most recently served as the Executive Director of Oklahomans for the Arts, which works to improve the economy, education and communities through the arts.

Previously, she led the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition, working with thousands of artists across the state to develop strong small businesses and connect with audiences.

Kirt graduated from Leadership OKC Class XXI. She received a Governor’s Arts Award in 2014. Kirt is an active volunteer leader in many educational, community & arts nonprofit organizations. She is a member of Rotary Club 29 and a graduate of the Salt and Light Leadership Training and the Leadership Exchange Academy. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a Masters in Art History and Macalester College in St Paul, MN with a Bachelors.

Among other community leadership, she serves as a Board Member for the Downtown Strategic Initiatives, a Task Force member for Read OKC and Advisory Board member for the All Access Arts program. She was elected a Council Member by her national peers for the Americans for the Arts’ State Arts Action Network.

Kirt lives in Oklahoma City with her husband, Nathan Guilford, and their two children, Roger and Lila. Nathan owns a small business in NW OKC. The family participates actively at their church, St Paul’s Episcopal. The children attend their neighborhood public elementary school, where Kirt volunteers extensively.


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