From the Orchestra Library

Out With the Old, In With the New

Posted in Uncategorized by kschnack on July 22, 2009

Even though it’s Summertime, and the livin’ is s’posed to be easy……..well, the library machine never really stops.  We do, mercifully, get to take the bulk of our vacation time while the players are off, and that way individually each get a break.  But we pass the information, projects and deadlines back and forth between us like a baton (not the conducting kind, the relay kind) so that we won’t drop anything as we come and go in July and August.

By the time the orchestra left on tour at the end of June, the library had already gotten started on the repertoire for next season.  In the middle of prep for all those June/July programs, we couldn’t afford to let up on the big picture for 09-10.  As a matter of fact, we started gathering information for the new season already last November when budgeting began, so that programming could be finalized.  Many orchestras these days are definitely in a phase of “programming by budget” as opposed to “budgeting by program,” and the DSO is not immune to similar economic pressures.  So, as repertoire is tentatively planned, we get rental fee quotes and purchase prices, and, as programming is adjusted, we update those projected fees.

This process goes up through January or so, but by then most of the classics repertoire is set for the next season, as are the basic outlines for our three youth programs.  Pops and secondary concerts are another matter entirely – we don’t get the programs for them until much later.  As anyone who has ever done a budget knows, it’s pretty hard to gauge what will be spent when one doesn’t know which “product” will be offered.  But we rely on what the various series have cost in past years and our experience with the different conductors to come up with a fairly reliable budget.

Once that is done, sometime in the spring, we start to order the music that is available for purchase, including extra string parts and full scores we may need for existing sets.  This music begins to arrive by mid-May, and gives us a jump on organizing and planning music preparation before we place rental orders in early June.

As decisions are made about which editions and sets of standard rep we will be using, we organize it all in a project shelf by program, for easy accessibility in preparation.  It’s a great way to help us stay on track all season.

09-10 Classics Concert rep by program

09-10 Classics Concert rep by program

Doesn’t that look organized?

Of course, if you pull back on the photo and show the surrounding area, you get a little bit less-tidy image.  My excuse is that the library is small, there isn’t enough room to store everything, and when a pops trunk the size of a coffin arrives (I think that was the shipping container for the “Final Fantasy” show, yes, we do such things) you put it where you can.

Concert rep shelf in reality

Concert rep shelf in reality

Anyway, that gives you an idea of what goes on in the library “between seasons.”

There is one other thing that occasionally goes on – celebrating the end of another challenging year and our success in getting “the right music in the right place at the right time.”  Our friends and colleagues in another orchestra library sent us a little gift because we loaned them one of our tunes from a Christmas program.  You might be able to find that gift in this next photo, as it did sit on the counter for a while.   If you were to come to the library now, though, it would no longer be there.  We used it for said celebration (after work hours of course!) and greatly appreciated the thoughtful gesture.  It was a perfect way to mark a moment moving from one season to the next.

DSO Library work counter

DSO Library work counter


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