A music librarian is responsible for all the music preparation that happens before the music hits the stand on the first rehearsal. We caught up with WASO Music Librarian Leanne Puttick to find out what her job entails.
For Leanne a normal week begins with sorting through the music from the previous week’s concerts; putting the sheets back in order and making sure all parts are accounted for before returning the score to the WASO music library or for pieces we don’t own, to the hirer.
Working closely with the orchestra management team to confirm each piece’s instrumentation, Leanne is responsible for sourcing the music scores for each performance. This often includes researching the different arrangements a conductor has requested then liaising with hiring agents and other orchestra librarians across the country to secure the works.
Concert preparations begin seven weeks in advance so once the music arrives Leanne gets straight to work, “I send the score to the conductor immediately, wherever they are in the world. If it’s a rehearsal day, then I come in early to help set the music up, and to help the musicians with anything they need, including giving them the music for the concert in six weeks.”
With WASO concerts most weekends, there is a constant rotation of music coming through the library and while sending it back to the hirer is a priority, receiving the music on time is even more important, “If the music is late it could be because its currently being used by another orchestra somewhere in the world and there are no more sets available, or in some cases the music is still being scored.”
As a musician herself, Leanne finds her role as Music Librarian a constant education, “I'm consistently gaining insight into the understanding of orchestras in different settings, orchestration and the boundaries and limitations of instruments in the hands of professionals of the highest level. I studied music composition here in Western Australia and overseas in Austria and have been privileged to have learned from some incredible composers. But nothing has given me a more rounded, valuable experience so far than being able to work directly with WASO on such a close level.”
While her role can be a constant juggle between concerts, that is part of what Leanne loves about it, “Sometimes I might have to work late to make sure the music is ready while working on the other concerts at the same time. But I don’t mind that, because our musicians, our conductors and our audience are worth it.”