Download the full press release here.
On March 11, 2008, Thunderbird Records released a new recording of works by Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate, a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation. This recording was performed by the San Francisco Symphony and San Francisco Symphony Chorus, and marks the first time a major American Symphony Orchestra and an American Indian composer have collaborated to record and release orchestral works.
Maestro Edwin Outwater served as conductor for both works, the first of which is titled Tracing Mississippi, a concerto for flute and orchestra. The flute soloist was Christine Bailey Davis who originally commissioned the work in 2001. From the composer’s notes, “Tracing Mississippi is a remembrance of the old country my family lived in and incorporates traditional songs and dance rhythms, along with American Indian percussion instruments.”
Iholba' (The Vision), for Flute, Orchestra, and Chorus, was originally commissioned by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the National Symphony Orchestra. Thomas Robertello, flute, and the San Francisco Symphony Chorus join the San Francisco Symphony for the full-scale sonic tour-de-force. Iholba’ is performed in the native Chickasaw Language, and is based on a traditional Chickasaw Garfish Dance Song. After the premiere of Iholba’, Gail Wein of the Washington Post stated:
“Tate’s connection to nature and the human experience was quite apparent in this piece...rarer still is his ability to effectively infuse classical music with American Indian nationalism.”
The Chickasaw Nation, in recognizing the talent of its citizen Jerod Tate, and in keeping with their commitment to the arts, was responsible for the funding of this project. Governor Bill Anoatubby remarks:
“We are pleased to support Jerod in this phenomenal project. He is an exceptionally talented composer. He has an amazing ability to create unique and beautiful compositions.”
The Chickasaw Nation maintains a very strong interest in the arts, as evidenced by their artistic statement:
Among those leading America into the 21st century are the proud people of the Chickasaw Nation. We believe that the arts are necessary to the success of the Chickasaw Nation because of their ability to move the culture along by expressing the beauty, strength, intelligence and spirit of its people, and to enhance the rich legacy of who we were, who we are, and who we will be. We wish to improve overall quality of life by creating a greater awareness of our unique culture through the encouragement and promotion of artistic expression and achievement.
The San Francisco Symphony expressed their enthusiastic support for this project with the following statement:
"We are honored to collaborate with composer Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate in recording his music, bringing to a worldwide audience the works of a composer descended from the original occupants of the North American continent."
Thunderbird Records is the first of its kind, a new record label devoted entirely to American Indian classical music. Founder and producer, Alan Bise, upon recognizing the emotional power of this music, has made it one of his missions to capture this music and present it to the public in the finest manner possible. This recording marks the first of Thunderbird Records in a list of planned projects.