Jerod Impichchaachaaha Tate
About Jerod Impichchaachaaha Tate
One of the few actual Native Americans to have explored fusions of classical music and Native American music, composer Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate writes works that explore elements of his Chickasaw musical heritage. He has also explored the music of other Native American tribes in his work.
Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate was born July 25, 1968, in Norman, Oklahoma. He is an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation as well as a citizen of the U.S. His middle name, which would be his surname in Chickasaw, means "high corncrib." Tate's father was a classically trained singer and pianist who often played classical music in the family home; his mother, of Manx and Irish background, was a choreographer and dance professor. Both parents encouraged Tate's creative ambitions. Tate earned a music degree from Northwestern University, studying piano. He did not think of trying to combine his Native American heritage and his background in classical music until he began composing, and in that activity, he found great satisfaction. Tate went on to the Cleveland Institute of Music, studying with Elizabeth Pastor and Donald Erb and earning a master's degree in piano and composition. While he was there, his mother commissioned the ballet score Winter Moons, which was performed at the University of Wyoming and later by the Colorado Ballet in 1994 and 1996. A major breakthrough came in 2007 when Tate's Tracing Mississippi and Iholba' were performed and later recorded by the San Francisco Symphony and San Francisco Symphony Chorus; the performance marked the first time the chorus had sung in any Native American language. Tate's works have been performed by such ensembles as the Detroit Symphony, the Dallas Symphony, and the Buffalo Philharmonic, and he has served several composition residencies. In addition to Chickasaw music, his works have explored the music of many other tribes, including Navajo, Cherokee, and Salish/Kootenai.
Several other Tate compositions have been recorded in addition to Tracing Mississippi and Iholba', and in 2021, an album appeared featuring his extended choral work Lowak Shoppala', with a text in Chickasaw and English by Chickasaw poet Linda Hogan. He teaches orchestration at Oklahoma City University and has been active in teaching younger Native American composers. ~ James Manheim