From the Orchestra Library


This is a blog about life in an orchestra library.  Most people, including many of whom are my colleagues in the orchestral profession, don’t really know what we do in the library — we just mark some bowings and put parts on the stands, right?

We thought it would be educational and, hopefully, somewhat entertaining to set the record straight on behalf of performance librarians all over the world who work so hard to make life easier for the players and conductors, and contribute their own musical expertise to creating wonderful live concerts.  Behind every great performer…………

My name is Karen Schnackenberg, and I’ve been working at the Dallas Symphony since 1990.  Forget your ideas of who you think librarians are and what you think they do, this job can be a wild ride.  I hope you enjoy reading!

“From the Orchestra Library” is being picked up by, a website devoted to the orchestral musician.  Be sure to go there and read all the great articles from the contributors.


2 Responses to 'About'

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  1. Quelani Penland said,

    Thank you SO much for this blog! I’m the orchestra librarian for the Berkeley Symphony and have been for just one season, but already I have run into so many situations that I thought was crazy – but I see I’m not alone!!! Keep writing please 🙂

  2. Catherine B. said,

    I’ve found this to be a very interesting blog so far. Thank you for posting it!

    I was actually the music librarian for my school’s orchestra this year; not sure if I will be this year or not, since we re-elect officers each year. Regardless of whether I am the official librarian, I plan on helping out with it anyways.. It was a pretty interesting position to have this year. One of the things that bugged me, though, was that for some of the pieces, the parts weren’t placed in score order; they were all mixed up from when previous librarians had been there. So, I ended up doing a good bit of sorting out parts for the pieces we played. At least they’ll be in place for the next librarian after I graduate!

    I’m curious… What are the job requirements for being a librarian of a professional orchestra? Is it a job that requires a degree, or could it be done by someone who has sufficient knowledge of music theory and basic concepts of playing different types of instruments?

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