Steiger Butte Drum, a traditional percussion and vocal ensemble of the Klamath Tribes, and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra perform Michael Gordon’s “Natural History.” Photo by JP Leong.

In Wednesday’s (5/29) New York Times, Zachary Woolfe writes, “Eleven members of Steiger Butte Drum sat in a circle around a large elk-hide drum at the front of the stage of Cincinnati’s Music Hall last Thursday” at a performance of Michael Gordon’s “Natural History” by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. “Washes of sound from the orchestra behind them built and receded in grand waves…. Steiger Butte Drum, a traditional percussion and vocal ensemble of the Klamath Tribes of Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest, broke out in a ceremonial song, the members beating the drum … Brasses [in the balcony] let out joyful, squealing bits of fanfare that seemed to tumble down and join lines coming from the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra onstage—eventually rising to a powerful, churning finale … conducted by Teddy Abrams … This was the sound of a cultural conversation that is still, after centuries, in its nascent stages. Native American composers and performers are slowly gaining more visibility after having long been largely ignored by institutions associated with the Western classical tradition. Raven Chacon, a Diné composer and visual artist, won the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 2022. In March, the New York Philharmonic premiered an orchestral version of the Chickasaw composer Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate’s ‘Pisachi.’… Some of the increased exposure for Native American artists has come through collaborations with non-Native musicians” such as Michael Gordon.