Get To Know AMS: Leah Wollenberg

This month, the SMF Education Department will be introducing you to the 16 young musicians participating in this year’s Acoustic Music Seminar. Each one will be visiting the Savannah Music Festival for an incredible week of playing, creating, and writing with world-renowned artists like Mike Marshall, Darol Anger, and Bruce Molsky to name a few.


Check back tomorrow to meet a new participant!


Get to know: Leah Wollenberg


Age: 20


Hometown: Berkeley, California


After having a dream she could play violin when she was six-years-old and waking up very sad that she didn’t know how, Leah Wollenberg decided it was high time to learn. She started with a variety of fiddle styles, and now she plays everything from old-time to jazz, Celtic to Balkan.


As the daughter of a jazz guitarist, Leah couldn’t help but develop a love for the style. She began playing jazz in high school, and became the first violinist to join the renowned Berkeley High School Jazz Ensemble. Playing with the BHSJE, she won awards at both the Folsom and Reno Jazz Festivals, performed at the Monterey Next Generation and Montreux Jazz festivals, and even some festivals in Italy.


During her gap year after high school, she traveled to Ireland and Scotland, going to workshops, learning from the local musicians and playing with them too. Leah is now in her second year studying jazz at Oberlin College and Conservatory in Ohio. She plays in both jazz and Celtic bands, while also pursuing her interests in geology and history.


Leah is thrilled to play jazz violin at AMS, but she’s also looking forward to getting back to her American and Celtic fiddle roots.


"What excites me about AMS is that so many different kinds of music that I love are being taught," she says. "When I look at the list of faculty at AMS, I’m looking at a list of my heroes."


Check out this video of Leah playing Gershwin’s “It Ain’t Necessarily So.”


Make sure to see this year’s participants in action with Julian Lage and Mike Marshall at the Lucas Theatre for the Arts on April 6th at 5PM. For more information visit the Savannah Music Festival’s website.