Meredith Music Publications has just published a book about performance librarians: “Insights and Essays on the Music Performance Library,” edited by Russ Girsberger and Laurie Lake. The publisher has kindly given Polyphonic permission to reprint an essay by Karen Schnackenberg, Principal Librarian with the Dallas Symphony and a long-time Polyphonic contributor.
In her essay, Karen talks about the role the librarian plays within the symphonic organization and focuses on two main points: 1) how little understood is the job of the music librarian amongst musicians, administrators, board, and audience, and 2) the need for the performing librarian to understand how they fit into the larger organization, and to move “beyond the library” to advocate for their orchestras. To quote Karen, “Performance librarians, by nature, are detail-oriented people. Our tendency, then, can be to immerse ourselves in the music preparation — which is our job, after all — without wanting to participate in the larger goings-on around us. But it’s the big picture that gives meaning to our detail work, the overall impact of great live music on the audience.”
Extracted, with permission, from “Insights and Essays on the Music Performance Library.” © 2012 Meredith Music Publications. All rights reserved. This material may be printed solely for individual, noncommercial use. Copyright notice and other proprietary notice must be included with any material printed. Reproduction of any material for any commercial purpose is prohibited without written permission from the Publisher.Read More →
Melissa Rogers is Assistant Librarian at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Head Librarian for the Aspen Music Festival and School. After another hectic summer at Aspen, Melissa agreed to share with Polyphonic readers her insights into just how hectic it can be for herself and the six other librarians who prepare all the music for the myriad of activities and concerts that make up a large summer music festival. Thanks to Karen Schnackenberg for encouraging Melissa to write this article for us.Read More →
Russ Girsberger is the Ensemble Librarian at the Juilliard School, and has written an interesting insight into the differences in duties between a college/conservatory librarian and a professional orchestra librarian.
Russ is well-known in library circles, due to his many writings, including what is quickly becoming a standard resource for those new to the profession: A Manual for the Performance Library.
Thanks to Karen Schnackenberg for asking Russ to write this article for us.Read More →
Ron Krentzman is my own orchestra librarian in the Harford Symphony (as well as our Assistant Principal Clarinetist for many years), and I am just in awe of Ron’s knowledge of publications, editions, composers, etc. Before becoming our librarian, Ran was a music copyist (by hand) and worked for many famous composers, including Lenny Bernstein. He gives us his take on merging (or not) the two jobs.
And then Karen Schnackenberg of the Dallas Symphony adds her sense of how this works in a major orchestra. An important read for any orchestra librarian who’s been asked to “add a few measures.”Read More →
Once again, Karen Schnackenberg suggested that Polyphonic post the agenda from the MOLA conference, to give symphony musicians an idea of the types of issues our librarians are dealing with. The National Symphony Orchestra hosted the conference and their head librarian, Marcia Farabee, introduces us to the activities presented at the conference. Once again, it’s humbling for this orchestra musician to realize how much I don’t know about what it takes to get the music on my stand.Read More →
Laura Ross, ICSOM Secretary and a violinist with the Nashville Symphony, attended the MOLA conference held in Nashville in May, 2008, and was asked to address the MOLA business meeting. She offers a passionate rationale for including librarians in an orchestra’s CBA (collective bargaining agreement). Paul Gunther, principal librarian of the Minnesota Orchestra, adds his thoughts about music librarians to Laura’s comments.Read More →
In September 2007, the Virtual Discussion Panel featured librarians from four orchestras in the US and Canada. One of the topics covered in those discussions was what sort of training is needed to become an orchestra librarian. Karen Schnackenburg, head librarian of the Dallas Symphony, and a past president of MOLA (Major Orchestra Librarians Association), expands on that topic in the following article.Read More →
“One of the founding goals of Polyphonic is to explore how orchestras can adapt to a changing arts climate. One of the challenges of adapting concerts to new formats is how to do so without violating current copyright provisions.
Recently I spoke with Marcia Farabee, head librarian for the National Symphony Orchestra, a position that has given her valuable on-the-job-training about the practical side of copyright law. She also serves as president of MOLA, the Major Orchestra Librarians Association.
In September, Polyphonic will host a virtual discussion panel (VDP) with Marcia and other orchestra librarians; one of the subjects we\’ll discuss is how copyrights affect orchestras’ planning and programming.”Read More →
The 2007 Major Orchestra Librarians’ Association (MOLA) conference runs from Friday, April 13th to Monday, April 16th in Chicago. 2007 marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of MOLA. Outgoing MOLA President Karen Schnackenberg sent us the agenda for the conference - we thought symphony instrumentalists would find it interesting to see the topics that will be discussed at this year’s MOLA conference.Read More →
Kim Hartquist, Music Librarian with the Rochester Philharmonic, explains the varied backgrounds and career paths that musicians follow on their way to becoming an orchestra librarian. She offers some very practical, common-sense advice on how to get to know your orchestra librarian, and how to find out what the library policy is in your orchestra. And she explains how you can make certain that the librarian is in your corner when it comes time to ask for a favor.Read More →
The future technology that will affect orchestral scores and parts is a topic that encourages lots of speculation for all of us in the orchestral world. In order to begin an examination of the possibilities, Karen Schnackenberg presents a concise yet detailed account of the current world of printed music and describes the five categories most often used: public domain, copyrighted, Pops charts, commissions, and self-published works.Read More →
Another mistake in your part? Must be a Kalmus edition, right? We all know that they intentionally put errors in the part so that they can retain the copyright. Right? Wrong!!
Karen Schnackenberg has asked Clinton Nieweg, retired Principal Librarian of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and his colleague Jennifer Johnson, now Asst. Principal Librarian of the Minnesota Orchestra, to explain why certain editions contain errors and why we\’re not justified in blaming Kalmus. Turns out we should blame the people who made the original plates! Read on for a very concise presentation of the many steps involved in creating a truly error-free set of orchestral parts.Read More →
When you walk in to a symphony rehearsal, there’s your music – waiting for you on your stand (assuming you didn’t pick it up beforehand). It never occurs to many of us to even think about it – the music is always where it belongs. But how does it get there?
Marcia Farabee, long-time librarian with the National Symphony, answers this question by explaining the four major roles of the orchestra’s music librarian: musician, informational hub, music preparer and, of course, professional librarian. You might not ever think of your music librarian the same way after reading Marcia’s column.Read More →
Did you ever wonder what happens behind the scenes to get your music on your stand in time for (or in your possession a few weeks before) the first rehearsal?
Karen Schnackenberg, Chief Librarian of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, will reveal all her librarian secrets. Karen was a violinist with the New Orleans and Oklahoma Symphonies, and wrote a column about classical music for the International Musician for many years.
Karen has agreed to write a column, and solicit articles from her librarian colleagues, about all aspects of being an orchestra librarian. Karen is quite active in MOLA (Major Orchestra Librarians’ Association) and already has several of her colleagues working on some of the topics she lists in her introduction.
Karen’s first article, “Who Is That Orchestra Librarian?,” addresses that most annoying question asked of orchestra librarians: “Are you a musician?” She explains emphatically that, of course, orchestral librarians are musicians and goes on to extol their many talents and skills. After reading Karen’s article, you should have a whole new perspective on your own orchestra’s librarians.Read More →
When I was a player in the Oklahoma Symphony during the 1980s, my colleagues and I were often asked the question “What do you do for a living?” This was a particularly astonishing question, because it usually came from our own Board members, who were very well meaning but misunderstood the life of the professionalRead More →