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June 4: Composer Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate Releases Lowak Shoppala' on Azica Records

April 20, 2021 | By Katy Salomon
Account Director, Morahan Arts and Media

PR Contact:
 Katy Salomon | Morahan Arts and Media
katy@morahanartsandmedia.com | 863.660.2214

Composer Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate
Releases Lowak Shoppala' (Fire and Light)

A Work that Expresses Chickasaw Identity Through Modern Classical Music and Theatre Featuring the Chickasaw Nation Children’s Chorus and Nashville String Machine, Plus Narrators Richard Ray Whitman, Lynn Moroney, and Wes Studi; Baritone Stephen Clark; and Sopranos Chelsea Owen and Meghan Vera Starling

Out June 4, 2021 on Azica Records
Physical Review Copies Available Upon Request

Watch the Staged Version of “Clans” from Lowak Shoppala' 

“Rich, provocative and moving.” – The New York Times


New York, NY (April 20, 2021) — On Friday, June 4, 2021, composer Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate releases the world premiere recording of Lowak Shoppala' (Fire and Light) on Azica Records. Lowak Shoppala' expresses Chickasaw identity through the medium of modern classical music and theatre through eight scenes and features orchestra, narration of a libretto by Chickasaw poet and Pulitzer Prize finalist Linda Hogan, children’s chorus, traditional Chickasaw and classical vocal soloists, and Chickasaw storytellers. Each scene (Fire and Light, Double Header, Shell Shaker, Clans, Removal, Spider Brings Fire, Hymn, Double Header & Finale) depicts a part of Chickasaw culture and history and is sung in Chickasaw. 

The recording, conducted by Tate, features the Chickasaw Nation Children’s Chorus and Nashville String Machine, an ensemble made up of musicians from the Nashville Symphony, and soloists including narrators Richard Ray Whitman, Lynn Moroney, and Wes Studi (Dances with Wolves); baritone Stephen Clark; and sopranos Chelsea Owen and Meghan Vera Starling. 

Born in Oklahoma, Tate lives under dual citizenship – United States and Chickasaw. His father is a Chickasaw lawyer and tribal judge who authored the current tribal constitution and his mother is of Manx descent originally from Nebraska. In addition to being an active leader of American Indian law and politics, Tate’s father is a classically trained pianist and baritone and his mother was a professional choreographer and dancer, leading to Tate’s immersion into American dance, musical theater, and opera. Like his classical composer role models such as Debussy (France), Bartók (Hungary), and Stravinsky (Russia), Tate strongly identifies with his culture and imbues it into all of his compositions.

Commissioned by American Composers Forum, the 2009 staged world premiere of Lowak Shoppala' featured the Chickasaw Nation Dance Troupe and costumes created by Chickasaw textile designer Margaret Wheeler. Chickasaw artist Dustin Mater created the graphic art. Original lighting design was by Choctaw artist James Wallace, and original choreography was by Cara Crawford. The concept was inspired by Chickasaw author and Pulitzer Prize Finalist, Linda Hogan, and her poem entitled “Fire and Light.” The production marks the first time in history that four Chickasaw artists have created a large-scale work for the stage. Read the full libretto here: http://jerodtate.com/lspoetry/ 

About Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate
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 Shell Shaker: 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 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.

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 of Music in Piano Performance from Northwestern University, where he studied with Dr. Donald Isaak, and his Master of Music 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. Learn more at www.jerodtate.com 

Lowak Shoppala' Track List

Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate – Lowak Shoppala' (2009) 

1. Fire and Light [5:14]
2. Double Header [4:34]
3. Shell Shaker [11:01]
4. Minko (Chief) [2:15]
5. Foshi' (Bird) [1:52]
6. Acho'chaba' (Alligator) [2:17]
7. Fani' (Squirrel) [1:44]
8. Koni (Skunk) [2:35]
9. Kowishto' Losa' (Panther) [2:03]
10. Shawi' (Raccoon) [1:57]
11. Minko (Chief) [2:08] 

12. Entr’acte [1:23]
13. Removal [9:38]
14. Spider Brings Fire [14:58]
15. Hymn [8:08]
16. Double Header [4:34]
17. Finale: Fire and Light [2:30] 

Nashville String Machine • Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate, Conductor • Richard Ray Whitman, Narrator • Stephen Clark, Baritone • Chelsea Owen, Soprano • Meghan Vera Starling, Soprano • Lynn Moroney, Storyteller • Wes Studi, Storyteller • Chickasaw Nation Children’s Chorus • Chickasaw Nation Dance Troupe

Executive Producer: Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate 
Producer: Alan Bise
Recording Engineer: Bruce Egre
Assistant Engineers: Benjamin Terry, Jeff Carpenter 
Mixing and Mastering Engineer: Alan Bise
Graphic Design: Dustin Illetewahke Mater
Recorded at: Ocean Way Studios (Nashville, TN) East Central University (Ada, OK) Chickasaw Nation Multimedia Studios (Ada, OK) Audio Recording Studios (Bentleyville, OH)

*Photo Credit: Chickasaw Nation

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