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Eight-time Emmy Award-winning flutist Kat Epple doesn’t play recitals; she pilots “magic carpet rides.”
“To sit and listen to the flute is a wonderful thing,” she said, of instrumentalist concert gigs. “But if you’re not a flute nut like I am, it might not be that interesting.”
So, instead, in her live shows, Epple talks to her audience between songs. She brings along several of the 200-plus flutes she’s accumulated from around the world and, before playing each, she sets the scene of where that instrument came from. Maybe from a small town in south Asia. Maybe from a Turkish marketplace, noisy with conversation and thick with the smell of freshly ground coffee.
“We’re flying,” she tells her audience. “And we all get transported to these different places.”
Epple, who lives in Fort Meyers, will play Palm Coast’s Taste of Portugal from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 8. Tickets are $20.
Having learned to play the flute at the age of 7, Epple began playing professionally in high school and then started a band with her then-husband, Bob Stohl, called The Emerald Web, in the 1970s.
“As I grew to love music more and more, it just started to branch out,” she said, noting that she also plays keyboard and is a recording engineer, which allows her to single-handedly compose entire orchestra compositions for film and TV scores without ever plucking a string or blowing into a wind instrument.
In her career, Epple has written and recorded scores for National Geographic, CNN, science director Carl Sagan, The Travel Channel, TBS, History Channel, HGN, PBS and more. She also won a Peabody Award last year for composing the score to a documentary on NPR.
Having worked on 26 internationally released albums, she makes it a point to involve herself in as many genres as possible. Last November, for example, she went on tour with progressive rocker Devin Townsend.
“I just enjoy playing something new and different that I’ve never heard before,” Epple said, adding that she plays for a contemporary dance troupe and with a group of coffee shop poets, as well. “It keeps my creativity and my mind moving.”
As a musician, Epple is all about experimentation. Whether it’s performing with metal bands (she and Townsend plan to record a duet album within the year) or playing flutes from across the globe (she owns a crystal flute, and another made of bird bone), moving out of her comfort zone, she says, keeps her artistically engaged.
Each new flute works differently than the one before it did, she explained. The scales are different. The fingering is different. The sounds are different.
Learning what makes each one tick turns Epple’s relationship with sound into something more than technical. It makes it spiritual.
“Every different culture has a different flute, which I find so fascinating,” she said. “And each one has its own spirit, really. You don’t try to play your song on that kind of flute. That flute has a song that you learn to play from it.”
Only 75 tickets are available for Epple’s Palm Coast show.
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