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Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra:Schwarz & Copland Third Nov 14 &15 Featuring Jewish Composer

by Jane Enkin, November 8, 2014


November 14 and 15, 2014 8:00 PM
Centennial Concert Hall
555 Main St
Winnipeg, MB

Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate: Clans from Lowak Shoppala’ (Fire and Light)
John Williams: Three Pieces from Schindler’s List
Copland: Symphony No. 3


The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra has a large and varied program every year.  Now and then I like to highlight a concert, especially if it strikes me as distinctive or if it features artists of Jewish heritage and topics of Jewish interest.


The WSO concert on November 14 and 15 addresses themes of human rights, significant to all of us and timed in celebration of the opening of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.  The program ranges from the familiar to the very distinctive, conducted by one of the world’s most honoured conductors.


Gerard Schwarz was born in 1947 in New Jersey, to parents of Viennese Jewish heritage.    He began conducting in 1966 and is internationally prominent, recognized for his moving performances and innovative programming.   He is the Music Director and conductor of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.  Schwarz places special emphasis on contemporary music, music by American composers, and compositions by immigrants to North America.


One of the familiar works Schwarz will conduct in Winnipeg is a selection of music from John Williams' Oscar-winning score for Schindler’s List.  Williams composed straightforward, deeply emotional melodies to carry the impact of this true story.  Williams described his own mission in creating the score: “The film’s ennobling story, set in the midst of the great tragedy of the Holocaust, offered an opportunity to create not only dramatic music, but also themes that reflected the more tender and nostalgic aspects of Jewish life during these turbulent years.”  Associate Concertmaster Karl Stobbe will be featured on solo violin.


The other familiar piece of music in the program is the Fanfare For the Common Man.  Aaron Copland, Brooklyn-born into a Lithuanian Jewish family, was very influential in creating a distinctly American style of composition, drawing on folk melodies and popular idioms. Copland originally wrote the Fanfare as a stand-alone piece.  He said, "The challenge was to compose a traditional fanfare, direct and powerful, yet with a contemporary sound."   Later, he adapted the Fanfare For the Common Man as a movement of his 3rd Symphony, which will form the second portion of the WSO’s November 14-15 concert.  His goal was to “reflect the euphoric spirit of the country at the time in the grand manner,” exploring America’s hopes, dreams and anxieties within this most European of music forms.


The distinctive and unfamiliar piece is the first of the evening, Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate’s Clans from Lowak Shoppala’ (Fire and Light), a work which vividly presents the history and culture of the Chickasaw nation.  The performance will feature vocalists Cory Campbell, Michael Thompson and Andrew Balfour and, as narrator, the Honorable Justice Murray Sinclair. Among his countless contributions to our country is his recent work as the Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.


Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate was born in 1968 in Norman, Oklahoma, is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation and a 2011 Emmy Award Winner.  Mr. Tate is dedicated to the development of American Indian classical composition, and a review by The Washington Post states that “Tate’s connection to nature and the human experience was quite apparent …rarer still is his ability to effectively infuse classical music with American Indian nationalism.”


The music was first performed in 2009. “The title of the work comes directly out of the poetry of Linda Hogan,” said Mr. Tate. “She composed a poem called fire and light for the tribe back in 2004. I was so moved by the poetry and the idea that I realized I wanted to use her poetry in the work as well.” An enthusiastic audience member describes the theme as follows: “It's very beautiful and tells the story of the Fire and Light. The Fire which was carried in their migratory journeys and also the Fire which is inside of everyone that lights their path.”


“In old Chickasaw culture a family clan system was maintained through matrilineal descent.  Each clan has an animal name.  Clans focuses on seven of these family lines – Minko, Bird, Alligator, Squirrel, Skunk, Panther and Racoon – and incorporates traditional Chickasaw melodies and rhythms,” explains Tate.


Tate’s enthusiasm about the original performance is infectious. “So, here you have a very dramatic artistic representation of different aspects of our culture, so I’m hoping that people that are non-Indian will walk away and go ‘Wow! I’d like to know more about that tribe, or I’d like to know more about Indian people because I think that was cool."


Jane Enkin Music and Story at

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