Press Room


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Mar 26, 2021


CURRENTS: Thunder Song explores the intersection of American Indian and classical musical cultures, featuring music by Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate, Louis W. Ballard, Rochelle Chester, and from the Pomo tradition
Performers include Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate, Elders Thomas Leon Brown aka Machuchuk and Ron Montez from the Pomo Elem Indian Colony, and members of the San Francisco Symphony

SAN FRANCISCO, CA—The San Francisco Symphony presents the next installment of the CURRENTS video series, Thunder Song, curated by American Indian composer and pianist Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate, April 1 on SFSymphony+. CURRENTS: Thunder Song explores the intersection of classical and American Indian musical cultures with performances of Tate’s own compositions Talowa' Hiloha and Chokfi', an arrangement by Tate and Elder Thomas Leon Brown aka Machuchuk of the Traditional Pomo Shake Head Song Hoy-Ya-A, Rochelle Chester’s Moon’s Lullaby, and selections from Louis W. Ballard’s Katcina Dances, featuring musicians of the San Francisco Symphony. The program will be available for individual purchase or with an SFSymphony+ subscription via starting April 1 at 10am.

Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate comments, “American Indians are beautiful, brilliant, and resilient. We have magnificent, intelligent, and creative minds. We are ancient and modern, traditional and adaptive. We are proud and we are the backbone and spirit of this country. We are supportive of each other’s communities and often express this through our art. And through art, we all come together as one people.”

Click here to access the CURRENTS Press Kit, which includes Artist Headshots, Production Images, promotional videos, and Digital Program Books* with artist biographies and program notes. (*Digital Program Book for Thunder Song will be added on March 31).

Click here to view full list of upcoming SFSymphony+ releases

- Complimentary SFSymphony+ memberships are available for members of the media. Please email [email protected]
to request free access.

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 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 his Chickasaw oratorio, Misha' Sipokni' (The Old Ground), for Canterbury Voices and the Oklahoma City Philharmonic. His music was recently featured on the HBO series Westworld. His commissioned works have been performed by the National Symphony, San Francisco Symphony and Chorus, Detroit Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, Winnipeg Symphony, South Dakota Symphony, 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 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

Among available recorded works are Iholba' (The Vision) for solo flute, orchestra, and chorus; and
Tracing Mississippi, a concerto for flute and orchestra, recorded by the San Francisco Symphony
and Chorus, on Azica Records.

Tate earned his Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Northwestern University and his Master of Music in Piano Performance and Composition from The Cleveland Institute of Music. His
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.

The San Francisco Symphony’s CURRENTS video series, launched in July 2020, explores the intersections of classical music with varied musical cultures and illuminates the connections and ways that cultures influence each other and evolve together. Each of the five new video episodes will be curated by a guest artist bringing their unique expertise and knowledge of a particular musical culture, featuring performances by those guest artists alongside members of the San Francisco Symphony.

Upcoming CURRENTS episodes feature the music of Zimbabwe—curated by members of the Chinyakare Ensemble who specialize in traditional Zimbabwean music and dance—on May 6; Persian music, featuring composer and multi-instrumentalist Mohammad Nejad as curator on June 17; and Klezmer musical culture, curated by chromatic button accordion, cimbalom, and piano player Joshua Horowitz and Veretski Pass, on July 29. The previously released episode Rhythm Spirits which explores the relationship between classical and Indian musical cultures, curated by tabla player and composer Zakir Hussain, remains available for on-demand viewing via SFSymphony+.

About SFSymphony+
Priced at $120 for the entire season (February 4–August 31, 2021), SFSymphony+ memberships provide exclusive access to premium original San Francisco Symphony digital content, including seven new SoundBox programs, five new CURRENTS episodes, and other special projects to be announced. Access to individual SoundBox and CURRENTS episodes can also be purchased for $15 per episode. Premium episodes range 30 to 55 minutes in duration and remain available for on-demand streaming indefinitely after purchase. SF Symphony donors who have contributed $250 or more this season and all 2020–21 Season subscribers automatically receive a complimentary membership for SFSymphony+ (February–August 2021). Memberships are available for sale now at

SFSymphony+ also features content available for all to enjoy free of charge, without requiring a log-in. Free content includes newly-recorded chamber music performances by SF Symphony musicians, as well as previously-released programs including Throughline: San Francisco Symphony—From Hall to Home; the Día de los Muertos, Deck the Hall, and 2021 Chinese New Year: Year of the Ox virtual celebrations; and the first four episodes of CURRENTS.

SFSymphony+ is available now for browser-based streaming worldwide via and coming soon to app and TV services (Apple TV, Amazon FireTV, Chromecast, Roku, smart TVs), smartphones, and tablets.


All CURRENTS episodes launch Thursdays at 10AM PST / 1PM EST and will remain available for on-demand streaming indefinitely.

CURRENTS: Thunder Song — American Indian Musical Cultures
Released April 1, 2021

Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate curator, composer, and piano
Elder Thomas Leon Brown aka Machuchuk vocalist and clapper stick
Elder Ron Montez traditional Pomo drum
Edward Stephan timpani
Yun Chu violin
David Chernyavsky violin
Wayne Roden viola
Carolyn McInstosh cello
Anne Pinsker cello
Marc Shapiro piano
Catherine Van Hoesen violin
Helen Kim violin
Chen Zhao violin
Jonathan Vinocour viola
Matthew Young viola
David Goldblatt cello
Jill Rachuy Brindel cello
S. Mark Wright bass
Jacob Nissly percussion
James Lee Wyatt III percussion
Jennifer N. Brown director
Kara Lancaster editor
Luke Kritzeck lighting/set designer

Talowa' Hiloha (Thunder Song)

Moon’s Lullaby

TRADITIONAL POMO (arr. Elder Thomas Leon Brown aka Machuchuk and Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate)
Hoy-Ya-A (Shake Head Coming Out Song)

Selections from Katcina Dances
Momo (Bees)
Monwu (Owl)
Tumas, Tunwup (Crow-Mother & Sons)


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