Oklahoma City - August 15, 2016 - Canterbury Voices and Oklahoma City Philharmonic will premiere a new oratorio by Chickasaw classical composer, Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate on Friday, October 7, 2016 at the Oklahoma City Civic Center Music Hall. The oratorio, Misha' Sipokni' (The Old Ground) is about the Chickasaw and Choctaw Tribes’ ancient migration from the West into present day Mississippi.
Oratorios historically originated as dramatic compositions of epic legends from the Bible. They feature solo voices, chorus, and orchestra, and are performed in a concert setting without action, costume, or scenery. Tate said he feels this story is perfect for an oratorio because “It is analogous to the Jewish exodus from Egypt to the promised land.”
Misha' Sipokni' (MEE-sha sih-POK-nee) was commissioned by Canterbury Voices, led by Dr. Kay Holt, retired Executive Director. Holt said, “It is an important part of Canterbury’s mission to add to the greater body of choral literature. When it was time for us to commission again, we could think of no one more exciting than Jerod Tate. We have long admired his music and talent, and the idea of our Spirit of America concert was built around this commission. This concert is a celebration of American classical composers, in which varying backgrounds have contributed distinct influences.”
Tate’s career has had multiple occasions to feature American Indian languages in classical repertoire. “I am proud to bring our languages into the same arena as Latin, Italian, French, and German,” said Tate. “This commission provides yet another venue in which the Chickasaw language is permanently preserved.” Misha' Sipokni' marks Tate’s seventh commission to feature the Chickasaw language.
Tate wrote the libretto in English and it was then interpreted and translated into Chickasaw by Joshua Hinson (Lokosh), Director of the Department of Chickasaw Language, Chickasaw Nation. Hinson said “We are pleased to be able to collaborate with Mr. Tate on this new oratorio. Chickasaw is a living and dynamic language, deserving of its place on the world stage. It is difficult to imagine a better way to showcase this than in a new work of art, created by a Chickasaw, translated in collaboration with Chickasaw speakers, and presented, in the Chickasaw language, to the world.”
Tate is known for his dedication to the development of American Indian classical composition and a Washington Post review states “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.” Tate’s works have been commissioned and performed by National Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, San Francisco Symphony and Chorus, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Colorado Ballet, South Dakota Symphony, New Mexico Philharmonic, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and Santa Fe Desert Chorale.
Tate’s recorded compositions are available on the Grammy Award winning label, Azica Records.
In addition to Canterbury Voices and Oklahoma City Philharmonic, three Oklahoma soloists will be featured, each with outstanding professional and teaching careers: soprano Kelly Holst, tenor Jeffrey Picón and baritone Mark McCrory. Maestro Randi Von Ellefson will conduct.