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Press Release

Release Date: January 24, 2006
Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office

Joyce Foundation President Ellen Alberding announced Jan. 23 that a grant of $50,000 will be awarded to the American Composers Forum in St. Paul, MN to support the commission of a new concerto for guitar and orchestra by Chickasaw composer Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate.

This award is one more indication of the success Mr. Tate has enjoyed as a classical composer who incorporates his Chickasaw heritage into his compositions.

Mr. Tate made the decision to incorporate his American Indian heritage into his music after his mother, a dance instructor, commissioned him to compose the music for an original ballet based on American Indian music.

"That just completely blasted open a whole new door for me in composition and I knew right away that I wanted compose and I wanted to compose as an Indian composer," said Tate during an July, 2005 interview. "That was really important to take that specific path."

"I had decided that I wanted everything that I do as a composer to be related to either my tribe or other Indian tribes.
"So I've used tunes and stories and different pieces – that kind of thing. Everything I've done has been based on Indian material.

A composition incorporating Chickasaw language premiered Sept. 21 at the Kennedy Center.

"Iholba is the word for a vision of something – it's like an image that you see," said Tate in an interview prior to the premiere. "To me, it's called the vision."

He is also composer-in-residence at the recent Chickasaw Summer Arts Academy and the Grand Canyon Music Festival's Native American Music Apprentice program.

A score he composed for "A Seat at the Drum," part of the Public Broadcasting Service documentary series Native Americans in the 21st Century, first aired in the fall of 2005.

Tate is also working to have "Tracing Mississippi," a flute concerto commissioned by soloist Christine Bailey, and Iholba recorded by the London Symphony.

If that were not enough, Tate has also been commissioned to compose a work for the opening of the Chickasaw Cultural Center in 2007.

Launched in 2004 as an annual competition, the Joyce Awards target cultural organizations in Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, and St. Paul/Minneapolis. While the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation has long provided major funding to Chicago-area cultural institutions, the establishment of the Joyce Awards marked the expansion of its culture grantmaking to other Midwest cities.

"This year's recipients of the Joyce Awards present a diverse and socially conscious group of projects," said Ellen Alberding. "We are pleased to present these artists and organizations with Joyce Awards, part of our continuing commitment to support the creation of important new and engaging work by artists of color. We look forward to the completed works, and the related programming, which we anticipate will draw new audiences to these outstanding institutions."

The Joyce Awards grants are made directly to arts organizations and are awarded in dance, music, theater, and visual arts. This year's competition drew 54 entries from around the region. Projects were reviewed by independent arts advisors from outside the Midwest and voted on by the Foundation's board in December. Each award supports the work of the individual artist as well as significant community engagement efforts.