Native America: The Choctaw Music of Charles Shadle

2022-23 Fay Chandler Creativity Grant

Manuscript of Charles Shadle's “Chahta Aiasha” (“Choctaw Places”) for Oboe/English Horn, Violin, Viola, and Cello. Courtesy of the artist.
Talimena Drive in Choctaw Country, Oklahoma. Copyright: Christian Toews.

Capturing contemporary classical music by a living Choctaw composer


The work of composer Charles Shadle, Senior Lecturer at MIT, is deeply rooted in his Choctaw heritage. His compositions build connections between music and Choctaw culture, between classical music and traditional music, and between generations of Choctaw.

“Those connections—with place, with land, with heritage—are always inextricably linked. That feels to me to come from a singularly Choctaw part of myself,” Shadle says.

Adding to the small body of recorded repertoire by American Indian composers, Shadle creates Native America: The Choctaw Music of Charles Shadle, A Collection of Four Works of Chamber Music. The album preserves an important intellectual and artistic legacy, allowing it to be conveyed to interested listeners both within and outside the Choctaw Nation.

The album includes the following works: “The Oklahoma Choctaw Cycle” (flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano), “Limestone Gap,” “Red Cedar,” “The Old Place,” and “Chahta Aiasha” (“Choctaw Places”) (oboe/English horn, violin, viola, cello). In collaboration with Odaline de la Martínez, music director of the renowned Lontano Ensemble, the album offers an opportunity to experience these works in brilliant and insightful performances that communicate vividly and directly to listeners.


Upcoming Events

Artist Talk and CD Release
MIT Music Library
October 2023

Past Events

Recording with the Lontano Ensemble
December 17–19th, 2022
London UK


Senior Lecturer in Music Charles Shadle teaches composition, music theory, and music history in the Music and Theater Arts program at MIT. He is an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, and this heritage reflects in many of his works, from the large-scaled Oklahoma Choctaw Cycle to the short and accessible Choctaw Animals piano pieces. Shadle is the 2016 recipient of the SHASS Levitan Teaching Award.

Biography: MIT Music and Theater Arts
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Born in Cuba and brought up in the US, Odaline de la Martínez is now based in the UK where she has become a formidable force in today’s classical music scene, pursuing a busy career as an award-winning composer, conductor, record producer, and event curator. Working with everything from Mozart symphonies to the latest contemporary music, she has acquired an illustrious reputation for her versatile and eclectic vision, with a longstanding special commitment to contemporary music, women composers and Latin American composers in particular. 



Composed by Charles Shadle

Music Direction by Odaline de la Martínez

Performed by Lontano Ensemble

Supported by a Fay Chandler Grant from the
MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology, MIT Associate Provost Philip S. Khoury, and MIT Music and Theater Arts.