Staff Spotlight: Carrie White

by Tucson Symphony

Have you ever heard of an Orchestra library?

Your Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s library contains a significant sheet music collection and is where all aspects of music production for Orchestra and Chorus performances take place. This includes acquisition of music (purchasing and rentals) and performance rights, as well as the preparation, distribution, and collection of music. The orchestra library is the place where all of the tiny details of music preparation come together and are copied by hand into the parts for each musician. Conductors provide markings for the orchestra and string principals provide bowings for every concert. The library and the library staff are overseen by your TSO Orchestra Librarian.

Introducing… Carrie White, D.M.A.

Do you know what an orchestra librarian does?

There are many rules governing the performance, recording, and broadcasting of many works we play. The librarian helps us understand the performing rights related to each piece. In addition to all this, the librarian secures, prepares, catalogues, distributes, and ships rental music.

When people learn what an orchestra librarian does, they are always astonished. Carrie has a vast knowledge of the orchestral, solo, chamber, and opera repertoire as well as the various editions available. She coordinates editions with the conductors and soloists to ensure everyone is playing from the same version. She has to know where to look for music, executes contracts for pieces we must rent, or purchase what is available for purchase (not everything is).

One example of the really behind-the-scenes work a librarian does:

If we have a singer (or singers) performing a pops concert, the librarian has to track down music for all the songs. They can come from a number of sources. Many songs are available in different keys so the librarian has to coordinate with artistic administration to determine which key works best for the singer(s). Just that one aspect can take weeks and a lot of back and forth with artists.

Carrie is one of TSO’s unsung heroes. She is brilliant, organized, efficient, and one of the best orchestra librarians anywhere. She is a wonderful colleague and we are incredibly lucky to have her.

—Pat Joslyn, Vice President of Operations and Artistic Planning

“From my perspective as Music Director, the interaction with the librarian is of utmost importance since we communicate all the time—often well in advance—about the different editions that are on the market so we can find the one best-suited to my artistic intentions or preferences. Carrie is such a great help to me, finding the best options and also preparing many of my scores when pieces are only on rental making it difficult to find conducting scores. She is always available to help and always finds the right answer! This is also known from many of our guest conductors who always find her to be a positive collaborator. One more great quality of Carrie as a librarian that I find important is that she is super meticulous and always double-checks everything before it goes out to the musicians. Even if it is obvious, she always correctly asks for a confirmation and that makes everything ready and perfect for the first rehearsal; a true professional!

“By the way, she is a very good clarinetist and an avid reader, and that knowledge in music, passion and curiosity in her job are ingredients to an outstanding professional.”

—José Luis Gomez, your conductor