MOLA 2019: Atlanta


Composers and music preparers take note: You may think your work is finished when you hit “send” on the e-mail with your files or drop off the printed music at your local shipping depot. But when it comes to the crucial final steps of getting it on the stand and ready for that first rehearsal, there is no greater ally you will have then the orchestra librarian. Librarians perform the crucial tasks that can make or break a successful performance. The very best librarians have saved my bacon more than once!

So I’m especially excited to be attending and presenting once again at the annual conference of the Major Orchestra Librarians’ Association (MOLA). This year’s conference is the 37th annual such gathering and it’s being hosted by the Atlanta Symphony from June 7-10, 2019, at the Loews Atlanta Hotel.

The Woodruff Arts Center, home of the Atlanta Symphony

A mix of plenary panels, breakout sessions, and roundtables is on the agenda, 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 contemporary music, and another one about copyright. In addition to attending these and other interesting meetings, I’ll be presenting three sessions during the 2019 conference:

Introduction to ​Dorico: Mark Fabulich, librarian at the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Amanda Tallant, assistant librarian at the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, will be my co-presenters at this session. Readers of this blog know that since Dorico’s release in 2016, it has rapidly developed into an advanced music notation software product. In this session, we’ll cover Dorico’s basic concepts, discuss the best approaches to achieve quality results, and demonstrate how Dorico compares to other programs.

Advancements in Music Notation Software & Tech: A fast-paced review of one year’s worth of music notation tech news in one hour. We’ll cover the latest updates to the desktop notation software programs like Sibelius, Finale, Dorico, and MuseScore; learn what’s been happening with iPad reader products such as Newzik, forScore, and nkoda; and see how web-based platforms like Noteflight and Soundslice have found a niche. Plus, we’ll touch on other tools like the easy-to-install NotePerformer playback system and free PDF utilities that could make your production work easier as the library and tech worlds continue to converge.

Music Notation Software Q&A: Finale, Sibelius, and Dorico: Come prepared with questions about how to do anything in the three major desktop notation programs! If you’ve been working with these programs but find you need help with a particular problem, or you want to learn how to do something better, this is your chance. We’ll address specific issues as they arise, and go in-depth to discover the best answers to thorny roadblocks. Learn from your fellow participants in a fun interactive session.

In addition to this being my fifth MOLA conference, this is the second year I’ve had the pleasure of serving on the MOLA technology committee, where we discuss interesting developments in music tech as they relate to the library world.

Royal Opera House library manager and MOLA Technology Committee colleague Tony Rickard and me in London in 2018

As time allows, I’ll report back here about interesting people, topics, products, and news from the conference. It’s hard to believe that it was three 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.

And, if you’re looking for some tips to win over librarian friends and make your scores and parts more musician-friendly, be sure to read and bookmark David MacDonald’s very helpful score preparation and production notes, complete with annotated resources, such as the MOLA Guidelines for Music Preparation.

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