Weekend pick: Rei Hotoda talks with composer Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate

Fresno Philharmonic

Jared Impichchaachaaha’ Tate talks with Fresno Philharmonic Maestro Rei Hotoda.

Last week I took a deep dive into the Fresno Philharmonic’s last Digital Masterworks concert of the season. That story included a section on Chickasaw composer Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate, whose “Chokfi” was a highlight of the season. The piece is an intriguing blend of Native American and Western musical traditions.

Now’s your chance to hear from the composer himself. Conductor Rei Hotoda interviewed him for an installment of “Stay Tuned: Virtual Edition.” The livestream premiere is 5:30 p.m. Saturday, April 24, on YouTube, and will be available for streaming thereafter.

From my piece:

Tate’s “Chokfi’ “ is what he playfully calls a “Sarcasm for String Orchestra and Percussion.” The title is the Chickasaw word for rabbit, an important trickster legend within Southeast American Indian cultures. It incorporates native tribal church hymns.

Hotoda is intrigued with how the composer weaves the Native American musical style into a Western structure. And while the audience might not realize it, the piece is quite mischievous in its complexity, including a mixed meter of rapidly changing time signatures.


“It’s really complicated, but when you hear it, it doesn’t sound complicated,” Hotoda says.

From the orchestra’s press release:

Rei’s conversation with Jerod covers how the influence of his parents, who were both artists, and his Native American heritage, heavily sculpted his music. He also talks about his recent commission, writing a Native American opera that will be premiered on the East Coast next year.

Hotoda is a fun and upbeat interviewer, and her live “Stay Tuned” discussions after Fresno Philharmonic concerts are popular. If you like the virtual version, you’ll have to try the real thing next season.


Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

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