NAMM 2018: A Dorico conversation with Daniel Spreadbury and John Barron, with audio


Note: This past week, we’ve published posts from the 2018 NAMM Show in Anaheim, California. It’s a huge exhibition, so we’ll focus on what we try to do best: cover the field of music notation software and related technology.

In this post, I visit with Steinberg’s product marketing manager Daniel Spreadbury and product specialist John Barron to chat about the past year of Dorico — its first full calendar year on the market — to take stock of what’s been accomplished and what’s on the horizon.

Perhaps no music notation product in the last couple of years was anticipated more feverishly than Dorico, the scoring software from Steinberg that saw its first public release not much more than a year ago, in October 2016. Four years of anticipation and speculation from the user end, and planning and coding from the development end, resulted in the first new major commercial desktop scoring program in two decades.

Steinberg’s John Barron and Daniel Spreadbury with Dorico

Since the time that version 1.0 appeared, there have been two major “point” releases — 1.1 and 1.2 — not to mention a slew of other interim releases that have each rapidly brought new features and improvements to the software at a pace we had not been accustomed to seeing in the other programs. Of course, when you’re starting from scratch, that’s to be more or less expected, but the sophistication of Dorico’s approach and the industriousness of its team has resulted in a product that could well set the bar for the future of scoring software if the early results are any indication.

Despite its technical achievements so far, there is still much work ahead for Dorico both in terms of feature development and capturing a share of the market. Even so, the dust having settled a little bit, and with the last of the version 1 updates just around the corner, I thought it would be a good time to chat at NAMM with Daniel Spreadbury and John Barron about how far they’ve come, and where they have yet to go.

Our 45-minute conversation on Friday included the reception at NAMM, the future of playback in Dorico, behind-the-scenes on creating the percussion feature, changes in the field, interacting with users, and much more. Apologies for the background noise — NAMM is not a quiet place! — but it’s well worth a listen.

[wonderplugin_audio id=”7″]


Earlier in the day, and each day at the NAMM Show, Daniel demonstrated Dorico to the show’s attendees, as part of the Yamaha exhibition in the Marriott hotel adjacent to the convention center.

Photo: Jeff Kellem

Here’s the video from the first part of a presentation that he gave on Friday, January 26, showing the new cueing features introduced in the 1.2 release:



  1. Itzhak Yaron

    sorry I missed it. I wish it was better publicized Wanted to see a Dorico presentation please let me know when you do one in Los Angeles

  2. Tom Rudolph

    Thanks, Philip. This interview with Daniel was very interesting. Thank you for all the updates from NAMM. It really helped as I was not able to attend.

    I don’t know if this is an easy answer, but in your opinion, is Dorico now in a position to be a viable alternative to Sibelius or Finale? If not, given the updates what’s your guess on when it will? I do own Dorico program, but have not spent much time with it yet.

    Tom Rudolph

    1. Philip Rothman

      Hi Tom, nice to hear from you, and I’m glad you enjoyed the posts! Dorico does many things very well and is viable for many people. I think that Daniel has said it best around 8:45 of the interview. If there is a feature that hasn’t been implemented yet that is essential to you, then Dorico won’t yet be useful, but it is a trade-off that they make while they continue to develop the program.

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