MOLA 2019 conference roundup


It’s been a busy season at NYC Music Services and Scoring Notes, and readers may have noticed a preponderance of “meta” posts — that is, posts about our own projects and activities. Not to worry; we’ll soon return to our regularly scheduled programming of news, tips, and tutorials about all of your favorite music notation software and related technology products.

But first, a quick roundup of the annual conference of the Major Orchestra Librarians’ Association (MOLA), as it pertained to music notation software and related technology. This year’s conference was the 37th annual such gathering, and it was hosted by the Atlanta Symphony from June 7-10, 2019, at the Loews Atlanta Hotel.

I’m happy to report that the conference was wonderful, with the torrential late spring Atlanta downpours the perfect weather to stay indoors and discuss all the latest developments in the world of orchestral music preparation.

After an opening reception at the Woodruff Arts Center (replete with a Southern-style biscuit bar), the conference got underway with a business meeting of the members, led by the MOLA board of directors.

Afterwards, I had a lively lunch with my colleagues on the tech committee to discuss how best we can serve the general MOLA members. Scoring Notes will surely play a role in informing the members — and vice versa — of how music tech continues to evolve and shape the tasks required of librarians, who are usually the last line of defense against sloppy materials appearing on the music stand!

Then, it was standing-room only for my introduction to Dorico co-presentation with the Boston Symphony’s Mark Fabulich (also tech committee chair) and St. Louis Symphony’s Amanda Tallant.

Only a fraction of those attending at the meeting actually use Dorico presently, but interest was high. Oohs and ahs abounded as I effortlessly changed meters from 4/4, to 6/8, to 19/32, and back again, with Dorico unfazed, able to un-Humpty Dumpty the notes.

My other presentations were a whirlwind of top-line news from the last year as I reviewed Sibelius, Finale, Dorico, and MuseScore updates. Summarizing all of the news about these products made me appreciate what an active year it’s been for desktop music notation software.

I also spoke about the leading iPad reader apps Newzik, nkoda, and forScore. In addition to referring attendees to David MacDonald’s review of iPad readers and the recent forScore 11 update, Newzik and nkoda prepared special presentations specifically for my session, which I shared with the MOLA delegates. I also covered web-based notation platforms Noteflight and Soundslice, and pointed the audience to our PDF applications that Abraham Lee created to help speed along tasks such as booklet imposition, batch scaling, combining, and printing documents.

Newzik was again exhibiting at the conference, and during a break in the rainstorms I stepped outside for some fresh air with Zoé Gerdil to learn about some of the latest “news-“ik:

It wasn’t all screens and noteheads, though. There was time to catch up with familiar colleagues and to meet new ones.

Clockwise from L: Luke Bryson (Nashville Symphony), me, Justin Vibbard (Sarasota Orchestra), Fabrice Curtis (Kansas City Symphony), LIz Dunning (Cincinnati Symphony), Bob Greer (Dallas Symphony), Jane Cross (United States Marine Band)

Over the course of the weekend, I was fortunate enough to spend some quality time with outgoing MOLA president Juhana Hautsalo of the Finnish National Opera and Ballet and incoming MOLA president Jane Cross of the United States Marine Band, among many other talented professionals in the field, all eager to talk about their work and experiences preparing quality music for performances.

Many thanks to the entire MOLA organization, and especially to host Nicole Jordan of the Atlanta Symphony and MOLA administrator Amy Tackitt, for inviting me to participate, share some knowledge, and for producing a first-rate conference that served our field very well.

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