Magical Music at the Galaudet Gallery – The Spectator
Magical Music at the Galaudet Gallery – The Spectator

Three generations of music will come together for one night of “spiritual, living music,” Peter Phippen, one of the improvisational musicians, said.

At the Galaudet Gallery, a teacher and his student — and that student’s student — will perform improvisational music together in conjunction to the current “Ukiyo-e: Floating Fleeting Worlds” exhibit being shown.

The three musicians performing are Phippen, Tiit Raid and Victoria Shoemaker.

Phippen has a number of achievements as an improvisational musician, according to a press release from Galaudet Gallery. He is a Grammy Award Nominee, International Acoustic Music Awards Finalist and has been nominated for the Native American Music Awards multiple times.

Raid, Phippen’s teacher, was formerly an art professor at UW-Eau Claire from 1967 to 2002. Born in Estonia, Raid improvises with percussion sounds, calling himself a “found object percussionist.”

“The last time he did a show in Estonia, he was hanging out with the president of the country,” Phippen said. “So it’s not small-time. His work is very impressive.”

Shoemaker, a student of Phippen, began teaching music in 2017. She is nominated for the Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI) People’s Choice Award for Best Music Teacher.

“I heard Peter and Victoria play at another event and thought, ‘Oh, this would be perfect to have them come,’” Vicki Milewski, a co-owner of Galaudet Gallery, said. “And then it turned out that Peter loves to play an Edo period flute.”

Edo, known today as Tokyo, developed the ukiyo-e style that the gallery now has in it’s exhibit.

Milewski said the art that came out of the Edo period of Japan helped inspire modern art and impressionism. She even credited Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh’s art styles to drawing inspiration from ukiyo-e art.

“Van Gogh was famous for collecting ukiyo-e pictures and we have a couple reproductions that he actually owned,” Milewski said.

Since the three musicians have a reputation for improvisation, the entire concert will be improvised on the spot, Phippen said. The musicians will specify which key they are playing in beforehand, but it’s all “spur of the moment.”

“No ego should be in this music,” Phippen said. “If you’re improvising, if your mind turns on and you say, ‘Oh I’m going to play this,’ then you’ve ruined the improvisation and anything spiritual is blocked.”

Once it’s played, it can’t be played again Phippen said. Despite playing the same collaboration of instruments, it won’t be the same song or sound again, something that has stayed true in all of the albums he has recorded.

“Everything is played off the cuff,” Phippen said. “Like I played with a symphony orchestra up in Rice Lake, and they did one of my songs. I had to go back and learn it.”

Magical Music with Peter Phippen, Tiit Raid and Victoria Shoemaker will be at 7 p.m. on Oct. 17 with a $15 entry fee. Find out more information at the Galaudet Gallery website.

“Even though we are an art gallery, we like people to come in,” Milewski said. “It’s always free to come in. Our prices range from $5 to $50,000, so come in and take a look at stuff and have fun.”

Spierings can be reached at [email protected]