MOLA 2018: Going to Kansas City…


…Kansas City, here I come! Although not for the purposes of amorous infatuations described in the famous song, it is with love for music notation software and technology and a profound respect for orchestra librarians that I’ll be attending the 36th annual conference of the Major Orchestra Librarians’ Association (MOLA), hosted by the Kansas City Symphony and held at the Crowne Plaza in downtown Kansas City, Missouri from March 16-19, 2018.

The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, home of the Kansas City Symphony (Credit: Burdettekevin via Wikipedia)

Once again, an action-packed agenda is planned, with a well-orchestrated (ahem) mix of plenary panels, breakout sessions, and roundtables, along with vendor demonstrations, publisher exhibits and social gatherings. It’s a way for the MOLA membership, which consists of professional librarians from performing organizations around the world to not only learn about the latest trends and develop new skills, but to share wisdom and to catch up with longtime friends.

Among the key sessions will be a plenary panel about the Leonard Bernstein centennial, and another one about creating and performing authorized pops arrangements. In addition to attending these and other interesting meetings, I’ll be presenting three sessions of my own during the 2018 conference:

Advancements in Music Notation Software: 2017 was an active year for development in music notation software, and the advancements in 2018 have continued apace. In this session, learn about the latest updates to Finale, Sibelius, and MuseScore, the rapid improvements in Dorico, where these programs are headed, and what users can expect. We’ll talk about the evolvement in open standards such as Standard Music Font Layout (SMuFL), the MusicXML interchange format, and the next-generation MNX project, which could set the course for how notated music is represented digitally across platforms in the future. Finally, learn about our free and easy-to-use suite of desktop apps for PDF processing that will surely speed up how you work with those files.

Finale and Sibelius Music Notation Software Session (one each on Finale and Sibelius): Come prepared with questions about how to do anything in Finale and Sibelius! If you’ve been working with Finale and Sibelius but find you need help with a particular problem, or you want to learn how to do something better in the program, this is your chance. We’ll address specific issues as they are brought up from participants and go in-depth to discover the best answers to thorny roadblocks that often arise. Learn from your fellow participants in a fun interactive session.

This will be my fourth MOLA conference in the past five years, and each year I look forward to it more and more. This year I’ve had the additional pleasure of serving on the MOLA technology committee, where we discuss interesting developments in music tech as they relate to the library world.

Presenting at the 2016 MOLA conference

As I did from the 2018 NAMM Show in January, I’ll report back here about interesting people, topics, products, and news from the conference. It’s hard to believe that it was nearly two years ago when we first covered the official announcement of Dorico, which was revealed at the 2016 MOLA conference in Helsinki. So big news is always a possibility! Be sure to subscribe and follow the blog on Facebook and Twitter so you don’t miss a post.


  1. Derek Williams

    Bon voyage Philip, enjoy the conference! What an amazing building that Kauffman Center is.

    1. Philip Rothman

      Thanks, Derek!

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