The New Leaf Ensemble features Jessica Wooldridge King on bassoon, Steve Rosenfeld on piano and Alina Plourde on oboe. (Provided photo)
LPL Communications Specialist
The audience members will have a big influence on what goes on in the front of the Carman Community Room during the third concert of the Fall Music Series: From Bluegrass to Polka to Holiday Favorites at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18.
The three musicians in the New Leaf Ensemble put their instruments and reputation on the line by improvising their set as they read the mood of the crowd.
“Central New York’s Improvising Chamber Ensemble” reads the slogan on the website representing Jessica Wooldridge King on bassoon, Steve Rosenfeld on piano and Alina Plourde on oboe.
The New Leaf Ensemble came about five years ago when Wooldridge discovered Plourde’s common interest in improvisation. Rosenfeld was teaching piano to one of Plourde’s sons.
“We first got together to perform the Poulenc ‘Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano’ — a gorgeous, three-movement, 20th-century work that we will play at the LPL concert,” Wooldridge says, “and we spent a little time improvising. We decided we should go to a [Music for People] workshop in Fredonia. We had a great time playing music outside the box and getting to know each other, so we decided to set up some gigs!”
Wooldridge says she doesn’t want to give away all of the trio’s trade secrets before the concert at the LPL, but classical music lovers can expect twists and turns along the way.
“There are a number of ways that we engage audiences, and it very much depends on the attitude and receptivity of the audience,” she says. “They will decide how different aspects of the music plays out — mood, instrumentation, style, even pitch content can be driven by audience suggestion. … I can tell you that no one will be put on the spot. … We once had one particularly boisterous audience that participated by singing and dancing, and even one audience member who conducted us. That wasn’t in our plan for that show, but the cool thing about improv is that you can go with the flow and have the kind of show that suits the people you are with.”
For the time the music lovers share with the music-makers, Wooldridge emphasizes, they truly are all in it together.
“We also truly believe that everyone is capable of playing and understanding music, and we encourage people to dare to do so!” she says. “Music is not something you should leave to the professionals. It is best when it is participatory.”
The final show of the series features holiday selections by The Onyx Clarinet Quartet at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9.
The series is presented in partnership with the Liverpool Is the Place committee and made possible by a grant secured by Senator John A. DeFrancisco.
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