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Flutes are delicate instruments that can possess a wide range of unique personalities, and Peter plays ones as old as the 17th Century and as far away as India. As he opens one of three cases of carefully packed flutes, the first one he chooses to play is a Lakota, colorful and noticeably old. He delicately places his lips over the top opening and blows deeply. Its sound is natural and environmental, like a wind blowing through the trees. The next flute he plays is from the 19th Century and it looks simple, but there is no simplicity to its sound. He holds it off to the side of his mouth and blows a steady stream into it. It begins to cry.

As Peter plays several other flutes from his collection, words like shy, precious, obnoxious, ugly, macho, and witty come to mind. His flutes are unique in that no two recreate the sound of the last. After hearing Peter play, no one can doubt his aptitude. When asked about it he reveals, “You can only be yourself, seclusion breeds art, so play!”

Every Wednesday night, Peter plays at Shanghai Bistro performing unscripted spur-of-the-moment music. Future local shows include the Mabel Tainter Theater on February 3 and May 13, and with Eau Claire Chamber Orchestra on February 18. 

Lavender Calm is Phippen’s seventh album, in addition to four nature-based instrumentals, seven compilations, and more than a dozen projects with other musicians. Find eight of these albums at The Local Store, and more information at PeterPhippen.com.