First-ever tech fair to debut at 2023 MOLA conference on June 2


MOLA: An Association of Music Performance Librarians is one of the most important organizations that exists for those of us working with music notation. Their 2023 conference is taking place from June 2 – 5, 2023 in Berlin, Germany, marking the first time their annual conference has occurred outside of North America since the 2016 conference in Helsinki, Finland.

That 2016 conference had an unofficial emphasis on technology; most notable among the presentations was the unveiling of Dorico publicly for the first time. It’s fair to say that since then, tech of all sorts has become even further enmeshed in the daily routines of music performance librarians.

The first public presentation of Dorico, by Daniel Spreadbury, at the 2016 MOLA conference in Helsinki

Tech Fair

With that in mind, MOLA has decided to introduce a new day of their annual conference solely devoted to technology. The first day of the 2023 conference will see the debut of the new Tech Fair, on Friday, June 2.

Hosted by the Berlin Philharmonic and to be held at the Hanns Eisler School of Music from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm, the Tech Fair will be an opportunity for technology-focused presentations and exhibits, especially as they may be relevant to the MOLA membership of performance librarians and colleagues such as publishers and musicians.

Newzik’s Aurélia Azoulay and Netta Shahar at the 2018 MOLA conference in Kansas City

Planned for the fair is a general exhibit area where attendees can freely mix and mingle with industry experts, see product demonstrations, and learn tips and tricks from other tech-savvy librarians.

In addition, at least one keynote presentation is planned, and vendors are being offered opportunities to give focused demonstrations of their products to an assembled audience.

Yours truly, presenting at the 2019 MOLA conference in Atlanta

W3C Music Notation Community Group meeting

If that weren’t enough, the W3C Music Notation Community Group will hold an in-person meeting on that same day, Friday, June 2, 2023, at the conclusion of the Tech Fair schedule, at 3:30 pm Berlin time.

The Music Notation Community Group develops and maintains format and language specifications for notated music used by web, desktop, and mobile applications; it also documents, maintains and updates the MusicXML and SMuFL (Standard Music Font Layout) specifications; as such, it plays a crucial role in the standards that are shared among hundreds of music notation software applications.

Although accommodations will be made for those who wish to attend the W3C meeting remotely, the opportunity to attend the Tech Fair and the meeting is a very worthwhile reason to find a way to get to Berlin on this special day. Having attended previous in-person meetings of this group, nothing compares to having some of the brightest leaders of our field all together in the same room to chart the future course of music notation software.

The W3C group in 2018, enjoying dinner after meeting at The NAMM Show

Opening reception and remainder of conference

After what promises to be a long but stimulating day, the 2023 MOLA conference officially kicks off at 5:30 pm with the opening reception in the Chamber Music Hall Foyer of the Berlin Philharmonie.

From there, it’s two full days of regular conference sessions and exhibits on Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4, and a concluding day on the morning of Monday, June 5. Among the anticipated session topics:

  • Advocacy and Awareness for Performance Librarians
  • Planning for Tours
  • Bowings for Non-String Players
  • The Ins and Outs of Those Weird Markings
  • Crash Course for Beginners
  • Public Speaking
  • Copyright Q&A
  • The State of Auditions
  • Bruckner
  • Ex-Patriate Librarians Perspectives
  • Understanding Wind Transpositions and Notation Conventions
  • Roundtables

In addition, there will be opportunities to attend performances of the Berlin Philharmonic on June 1, 2, and 3; take a walking neighborhood tour of Berlin or of royal and imperial Berlin; and generally enjoy all that the city has to offer, musically and otherwise.

Registration deadline: April 21, 2023

If all of that sounds too exciting to pass up, you’re not alone. I plan on attending — having attended nearly every one of them for the past decade, and presented many sessions, the MOLA conferences are among the highlights of any year. Last year at the 2022 conference, David MacDonald and I both attended and did our very first “live” Scoring Notes episode!

“(Y)Our Future With Digital Sheet Music” with Mark Fabulich, Georgina Govier, and David MacDonald (and a Scoring Notes photo bomb), at the 2022 MOLA conference in Philadelphia

The registration deadline is coming up fast: All registrations and purchases must be made by April 21, 2023.

The cost to attend the Tech Fair is $50; a full list of registration fees and options for both members and non-members can be found at the MOLA conference web page.

Exhibit at the Tech Fair

It’s not too late to grab an exhibition spot at the Tech Fair. If you have a product or service that you think would be a good fit, exhibit tables can be secured at extremely reasonable rates. It’s possible to exhibit only at the Tech Fair on Friday, or for the duration of the entire conference through Monday.

Rates and details can be found at the conference web site; you can also contact Amy Tackitt, MOLA’s administrator, and Mark Fabulich, the chair of MOLA’s technology committee, with any specific questions you may have.

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