No Conductor, No Problem Part 2: The Librarian Is Your Friend


Since there are no step-by-step checklists on how to navigate a way through planning a conductor-less concert, I’m sharing the processes and planning as I prepare myself for leading the Chattanooga Symphony’s chamber concert featuring Haydn’s Symphony #31.

Planning for an upcoming season, for much of my job as concertmaster, happens in the summer. While I’m performing at the Grand Teton Music Festival, upcoming concerts for Chattanooga Symphony are never far from my mind. Whether I’m bowing CSO parts or practicing CSO repertoire, it’s the all occurring several months ahead of any given concert. So this is a sneak peek at some of the planning for our November 6th concert!

From experience I have found that one of the most important people to know in an orchestra is the librarian. Librarians have the connections, the knowledge, institutional memory, and the key to the parts and scores.

Our Grand Teton Music Festival librarian for the first few weeks of the summer was Crozet (Cro) Duplantier. I’ve known Cro for years and at the first rehearsal I asked him what he knew about Haydn’s 31st symphony and shared that I was going to be leading from the concertmaster chair. Immediately Cro rattled off when we last performed it at GTMF, who the conductor was, and that I could get the marked parts which were sitting in library.

How helpful are marked parts? Extremely!

Marked parts can often tell you where balance issues occur and offer stylistic ideas including bowings. Later that evening I received and an email from Cro with the parts attached and also a question if I would like to be connected to a few Haydn specialists that he knew.

Within 24 hours, I had the entire bowed masters, all of the marked hard copies for the entire orchestra, and two emails introducing me to two conductors that Cro felt would be helpful to me.

Our next article will go into some of the words of wisdom from the conductors Cro connected me to and words from my colleagues who performed the solos in Haydn #31 in the summer of 2009. Meanwhile, Cro has reminded me just how much knowledge and memory orchestral librarians hold, and for that I’m grateful!

About Holly Mulcahy

After hearing Scheherazade at an early age, Holly Mulcahy fell in love with the violin and knew it would be her future. She currently serves as concertmaster of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra. She spends her summers at the celebrated Grand Teton Music Festival. Believing in music as a healing and coping source, Holly founded Arts Capacity, a charitable 501(c)3 which focuses on bringing live chamber music, art, artists, and composers to prisons. Arts Capacity addresses many emotional and character-building issues people face as they prepare for release into society. Holly performs on a 1917 Giovanni Cavani violin, previously owned by the late renowned soloist Eugene Fodor, and a bespoke bow made by award winning master bow maker, Douglas Raguse.

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