Carrie Rose first became involved with music in her elementary school’s band program. When students were asked to list three instruments they wanted to play, she wrote: “trumpet, percussion, flute.”
She remembered being drawn to the ability to be loud on the trumpet and getting to bang on instruments for percussion. But she reconsidered her choice. “I thought about it — as a little 8- or 9-year-old — and said, ‘You know what? I think I am just a flutist.’ I crossed off the other two and just left flute. It just felt right.”
The decision proved fateful for Rose who has gone on to create a thriving career as a freelance flutist, composer and educator in the Washington, D.C. area.
“It’s not the flute in particular that I love,” she said. “I just love being a musician. I love playing music. I love dancing to music. I love composing music. I love listening to music. Being an audience member. They really all play equal roles in my life. I feel like they all are necessary and inform each other.”
Rose appreciates the versatility of the flute. “I can play beautiful classical works and I can play these crazy, crunchy avant-garde works and I also play for dances. You can really groove and be percussive on the flute as well. It opens up a lot of opportunities,” she said.
Among those opportunities is the Origins Concert Series, which Rose created a decade ago. Each show, she explained, explores beyond classical and popular music cultures into new sonorities and features a world premiere of a song she composed along with special guest performances.
“I wanted to explore new music and present it in a way that would appeal to anybody in my neighborhood,” she said. “I wanted there to be a new music series in my neighborhood where I live, be able to invite friends and neighbors and even if someone hasn’t heard sounds like this before, they can relate to it.”
The series’ next performance, “Nature Sounds,” for flute, percussion and electronics, is set for the evening of Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Church of the Ascension in Silver Spring. The program will feature percussionist John Kilkenny and song selections like John Fonville’s “Music for Sarah,” James Herriott’s “Dissipation of a Thought” and Kaija Saariaho’s “NoaNoa.”
It also will feature the world premiere of Rose’s “Waterweave,” a piece that uses recorded sounds from Silver Spring and Takoma Park waterways. Inspired by the sounds within water, Rose wanted to explore the different pitches.
A fan of folk music, Rose likes to tell audiences about each song along with some background information. “I really like the way that when people are introducing a folk song, they tell a story,” she said. “I try to approach new music that way — not like it is something high minded and esoteric, but that it is something for everyone.”
Rose has developed a routine for producing the shows. “It means that I have higher and higher expectations for myself, so I drive myself a little crazy with high aspirations,” she said. “It doesn’t really get easier because I keep raising the bar.”
After a concert [not a part of the Origins series], an audience member approached Rose. “She said, ‘When I first started listening in this concert, I wondered if I could sit through a whole concert with this music and now, I wonder if I can ever go to a normal concert again,’” she recalled. “Not everybody ends up liking this kind of music, but some people had not heard anything like this before and come away wanting more.”
Rose considers music a spiritual calling. “It is not an easy career, and everybody was telling me that,” she said. “I felt kind of like a monk — like I was called on a spiritual path to explore music and I really feel like it is devotional. I have organized my life around having mornings free, so I can play my flute and compose music. It is a devotional time of my day.
“People ask to get together. ‘Oh you are free in the day. Let’s get together for lunch.’ Usually I say ‘no.’ I am working. It is not necessarily my paid work time, but it is like prayer.
The Origins Concert Series will present “Nature Sounds” at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16 at the Church of the Ascension, 633 Sligo Ave., Silver Spring. A $15 donation is suggested, $10 for ages 18 and younger. A reception will follow the performance. Visit www.originsconcerts.org or call 301-608-9637.