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Lakota Music Project


The Lakota Music Project (LMP), the flagship of the SDSO’s community engagement work, is an ongoing collaboration between the SDSO and the Lakota community. Initiated to address a history of racial tension, the LMP builds bridges between whites and Native Americans, advances cultural understanding, and creates an environment of openness through music. By treating the music of both cultures with dignity and respect, the LMP gives both groups ownership of the project, and creates an opportunity for dialogue in a non-threatening environment.

The original LMP concert program combines the talents of the South Dakota Symphony Chamber Orchestra and the Creekside Singers, a Lakota drumming group, in a side-by-side setting devised to promote a deeper understanding of these two different but coexisting cultures, and demonstrate the value of peaceful, positive collaboration. The first half of the program offers musical depictions that compare and contrast each culture’s treatment of experiences common to the human condition – love, war, grief, and celebration. On the second half of the program, the Lakota Music Project demonstrates the rewards of the two cultures working together through two commissions that were composed for chamber orchestra and Native American drumming group.

The project includes four original commissions – two by Jeffrey Paul, composer and Principal Oboist of the SDSO, one by Native American composer Brent Michael Davids, and one by Native American composer Jerod ‘Impichchaachaaha’ Tate.

Lakota Music Project History