Musician interviews with ASO Insider and Program Annotator Ken Meltzer are a regular feature. This month, he talks with ASO Principal Librarian Rebecca Beavers.
Tell us a bit about the path that brought you to the Atlanta Symphony.
While I was in college (Ohio State and Northwestern), I played French horn with a regional orchestra in Naples, Fla. This orchestra was in the process of building the Philharmonic Center for the Arts, and in 1989 I moved to Naples to be the Naples Philharmonic’s first librarian and to play horn in the orchestra. as well. The Naples Philharmonic Chorus was founded in 1991, and I also was their librarian. In 1996, I became the Associate Principal Librarian with the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestras. The horn took a back seat, as being a librarian with a major orchestra takes a great deal of time. I joined the ASO as Principal Librarian in October of 2007.
Describe a typical day in the life of the ASO’s Principal Librarian.
Every day is different and one always learns something new. We in the library (myself, an assistant and a part-time librarian) are responsible for all of the music the ASO performs—classical, pops, educational, run-outs (ASO concerts outside Atlanta Symphony Hall), tours, as well as summers at Verizon Wireless and Chastain. It can be very busy on days when there are rehearsals, with players coming in with questions about the week’s concerts and future repertoire. Our duties vary, from providing updated instrumentations to the personnel manager and preparing new sets of music to fixing page turns, cataloguing, and bowing string parts.
How many pieces of music does the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra have in its library?
2,200+, which includes sets the ASO owns and sets we have on permanent loan from publishers.
For someone not familiar with all of your official responsibilities, what do you think might be the most unexpected or surprising aspect of your job ?
An orchestra librarian is a musician, and we work behind the scene to help the players perform at their best. I have always said the library is the kitchen of an orchestral organization — the music we prepare is the “food” and the core.