From the Orchestra Library

The Concertmaster Merry-Go-Round

Posted in Library Life by kschnack on October 19, 2010

Like a few other major orchestras out there this season, we are in the hunt for a new first concertmaster. About a dozen fine fiddle players have been invited to fill the position temporarily as they and we are able to match schedules. Most of these folks are doing the “Concertmaster Circuit” and substituting in those other orchestras too.  And, while most of them will not actually be auditioning for the permanent job because they already have other great gigs around the country, some will, and that audition is in mid-November. The position will likely not being filled until the start of next season as is typical with this type of position. In the meantime, we have music to prepare and performances to produce so we are trying to stay ahead of the geographically-challenged marking process which is just a tad on the crazy side!

Life being what it is, of course, none of these violinists are available for any one stretch of time, so they are coming and going, back and forth, or popping into town for a single week.  So far we have welcomed four substitute concertmasters —  wonderful players who have been delightful to work with — and two will return later on. All the while we are in touch with the other eight, sending pdf and hard copies of parts to be checked over for bowing changes, arranging dates by which those markings can be returned far enough in advance for us to go through the rest of the bowing process, and staying in contact through the inevitable program changes for a couple of the weeks and issues with rental materials for some of the others. Just the normal stuff. But long distance. Which adds a few weeks to the process.

It’s been really interesting to watch the various styles of leadership and hear the changes in the sound of the section with a new concertmaster every week or two. I think it’s actually a great opportunity for everyone to work with and adjust to different players, the library included. It provides a chance for us all to approach things from a fresh perspective and learn something in the process.

Four CM’s down, eight to go, coming to town for a total of twenty-one classical subscription programs of three or four performances each.

I just hope I don’t accidentally make any of them mark the wrong piece with all this music flying around!

See the new MOLA Facebook page!

Posted in Library Life,Stage and Concert Duties,The Business by kschnack on October 3, 2010

It is finally a beautiful fall weekend here in Dallas. What a relief. Windows open, breeze coming through the house, and most important — NO SWEATING!

Speaking of relief, I am rotated off this weekend’s performances, and grateful for the opportunity to catch up on all manner of things for life and work. If you don’t know the phrase “rotated” in this context, it is essentially relief-time while the orchestra is working. A very common practice for the players (and conductors, too, of course), there are days and weeks within the concert season when each musician is guaranteed a certain number of “services” off (rehearsals and concerts) that are not considered vacation, personal or sick days, or unpaid leave. In American orchestra libraries, the scheduling is generally a pretty different system and, while we take turns working concerts, we don’t usually have the luxury of a full weekend series off. So it is a real treat when it happens.

This weekend, then, is all about writing and laundry. And some nice walks in the fall air. I’ve been enjoying reading and contributing to the new MOLA page on Facebook, and invite you to visit. Already there are some fun news articles and other good information about an upcoming workshop we are presenting in Chicago:!/pages/MOLA-Major-Orchestra-Librarians-Association/144549815587667

The good feelings about our field and industry are not without worry for our colleagues both near and far. Today, I am thinking about my friends at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Library who will be on strike beginning tomorrow to fight against a truly drastic attempt to change the entire structure, quality, and future of that fine organization. We wish them Godspeed for a decent settlement and a contract that at least treats them with respect. While you are on FB you might stop by their pages as well and offer your support.