Avid ramping up Sibelius development with new Montreal office


Avid_logo_purple-_4_Avid is in the process of hiring a team of six Sibelius developers to be based in Montréal. The Montréal developers will work exclusively on Sibelius.

As of this writing, two jobs were posted on Avid’s careers site (click on “Search openings” and then search for Montréal as the city). The full time jobs were posted on October 20, 2015 and were for the positions of “principal software developer” and “software developer – music notation.”

Downtown Montréal (courtesy Wikipedia user Taxiarchos228)
Downtown Montréal (courtesy Wikipedia user Taxiarchos228)

Both job descriptions were the same; the full text is posted below:

Avid is looking to hire a C++ developer to work on Sibelius, the world’s most popular music notation software. The candidate should have a strong technical background with knowledge of music notation.

Required Skills

  • BS or MS in Computer Science or equivalent degree
  • High level of C++ object oriented programming experience and expertise
  • Experience with cross-platform Windows and OSX development on large projects
  • Some experience with client and server side web development, preferably using Node.JS or JavaScript
  • Experience working with a cross-platform UI layer such as Qt and/or working directly with Cocoa and Windows API’s
  • Familiarity with music notation
  • Strong English language skills, written and oral
  • Excellent communication and team skills
  • Self-Starter with the ability to work independently

Desired Skills

  • Experience with a large legacy code base
  • Knowledge of scripting languages, such as Python, Bash, PowerShell
  • Notation, MIDI and/or audio programming experience
  • Experience with Agile Development

Tim Carroll, Avid’s vice president for audio products, told me the reason for the move was that “we’re adding more resource development for Sibelius and trying to centralize on a team based on a market where the skill set required — high skill engineers with extensive music notation background — is plentiful.”

Montréal was an attractive choice for Avid due to its highly educated and bilingual workforce, excellent universities, and proximity to major North American markets. It was the host city for the 2015 Major Orchestra Librarians’ Association (MOLA) conference and will host the 2016 Music Encoding Conference.

Tim Carroll
Tim Carroll

I spoke with Tim when he visited New York for the recent Audio Engineering Society convention in October. Tim is an 18-year veteran Avid employee with a music background that includes playing jazz piano and composing music for clients such as Turner Broadcasting, Coca-Cola and The Home Depot. Before assuming his new role as vice president for audio products (including Sibelius) in June of this year, Tim had been a vice president for sales at Avid.

He acknowledged that Sibelius innovation had slowed over the past three years, and was keenly aware of what happened when Avid closed the Finsbury Park office three years ago.

When Tim came on board to oversee all of Avid’s audio products, he was pleased with the recent improvements to Sibelius Cloud Publishing, but he was concerned about the lack of progress and innovative features Sibelius had seen over the past few years. He said, “We have an excellent product manager in Sam Butler and product designer in Joe Pearson. But it became clear that in order to move forward, we needed to have a specific skill set for our main development team: excellent developer skills plus both a background and passion for the art of of music notation. Montréal is proving to be a great resource for people that fit that description.”

Tim said that several members of the new Montréal team had already been hired and stressed that their sole responsibility will be Sibelius development. Programmers in Poland and Ukraine will remain, with their tasks divided among Sibelius and Avid’s other products as needed.

“Ideally we want to be releasing updates to Sibelius once per quarter, focusing on the top requested features from our customers,” he said, noting that the forthcoming Sibelius 8.1 release will include notation-specific improvements. “Additionally, with closer proximity to the Pro Tools development team, we expect to see some much tighter integration with Pro Tools as well. I’ve just returned from the UK and reviewed our 2016/2017 road map with Sam; I’m very excited about the future for Sibelius and looking forward to getting the new team fully up to speed!”


  1. Peter Roos

    Excellent news!

  2. Laurence Payne

    That’s very much what they said when recruiting the team in Kiev.
    As there’s obviously no way a new team can be productive before next summer, may we expect the cut-off date for subscribing to be delayed?

  3. Andrei

    Very exciting!!! Here’s hoping they’ll take into consideration the IdeaScale feedback…
    Go Sibelius!

  4. Neil Sands

    I hate this word “excited” Avid keep using. They were “excited” when they gutted their original development team three years ago.

  5. Ralph L. Bowers Jr.

    I am “excited” to have Avid/Sibelius stop using the term monetize or monetization in their corporate speak.

  6. Bernie Cossentino

    My home town. Interesting…

    Maybe I should see what assistance I can offer.

  7. Bob Zawalich

    I wish Avid all the best with this venture. It would be great if useful features could again be added to Sibelius.

  8. Dennis Larson

    It sounds like Avid is finally realizing that *perhaps* they might have made a mistake when they chose a “new path” forward for Sibelius (although we may have heard this rhetoric before). Perhaps with some dedicated developers (who also are musicians — an absolute must!) there will be significant progress with Sibelius in the future. If that doesn’t happen (given the new costly subscription model), I foresee lots of interest in the Steinberg software being developed as a totally new model for the future.

    1. Oliver Ostermann

      I hope, that Steinberg will mix up this ignorant monopole situation between Finale and Sibelius!!!

      1. Laurence Payne


  9. Laurence Payne

    The cost of the subscription model is comparable to the cost of buying a bi-annual update under the old scheme. Our feathers are ruffled by no longer having the choice of upgrading when a new version arrives, but most of us did anyway! The problem is that Avid have been strong on promises, weak on delivery for too long now. We’re half-way through the year when they promised to prove themselves so we’d WANT to subscribe and they’ve released one version that mainly broke things, one that mostly fixed them again. Progress since Sibelius 7.5 effectively nil. If the Kiev team have “notation-specific improvements” for us, I’m afraid I see this more as a threat than a promise.

  10. Jim Druckenmiller

    If efforts now focus on “trying to centralize on a team based on a market where the skill set REQUIRED — high skill engineers with EXTENSIVE music notation background”, as Tim C. tells Philip R.

    Then why does the ‘Required Skill Section’ of AVID’s Job Posting only say “FAMILIARITY with music notation”?

    Isn’t having an ‘Extensive Background in Music Notation’ a fairly distant term from simply being ‘Familiar’ with it?

    If Montréal is an attractive choice, where high skilled engineers with their extensive backgrounds are plentiful…

    Why not just ask for it within the Job Description?

    How can you even question an applicant about their extensive experience if you only advertised for a familiarity with a particular skill set.

    A skill set that everyone keeps saying is so crucial.

    What are we really looking for here?

  11. Françoise Grenieer

    I think that you could sporadicaly hire me as tester. I probably represent the typical user without much advanced skills on Sibelius, but with much questioning while doing a task.
    I would be happy to contribute to the approach : See “outside of the box” to simplify the processes as much as possible. I am a music educator and live in Montréal.

  12. Grant Wood

    It’s now around five years later and I see no evidence of better audio or integration with Pro Tools. I have used Sibelius since 2001 when I was introduced to it by the HOD for Music in the school where I taught. I gave up with trying to use my sample libraries in around 2009; sheer frustration with the Playback Configuration and Sound Set Editor left me reaching for traditional DAWs and all the resulting workarounds. Fast forward to 2020. New PC for me and HUGE disappointment with the 2020.whatever update. I have resisted competitors until now but, hey, you’ve had more than enough time. Dorico 3.5 trial installed yesterday – what a joy to experience the combination of superb VSTi integration from the inventors of the technology and notation smarts from the original team!

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