Nerds? You Betcha!

When I wrote the following on “From the Orchestra Library” I didn’t realize Robert had posted the video of a young accordion virtuoso playing the last movement of  Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto back in September.  So, here’s a little view into orchestra librarians’ minds when they see such a thing:

This actually happened [with minor edits for appropriate content].

Orchestra Librarian X writes to Orchestra Librarians Y and Z and sends the video.

OL Y’s response:

I have been fascinated with what can be done on a button accordion.  Been watching lots of these for the past weeks.  Does that mean I’m a nerd?

OL Z’s response:

That’s incredibly amazing, and I never thought I’d say this, but he’s more musical than many of the fiddle players I’ve heard!  As for the nerd question, do we even need to go there??


Anyone get down which cuts he takes?


I was actually trying to catch the cuts as I was listening, but I’ll have to go through it again. Does that make me a nerd?


Of course the answer from his management would be “the usual accordion cuts.”

OLs X, Y, and Z then broke up in much cyber silliness and giggling [heavily edited for appropriate content].

PS. If you are not ROF LOL after reading that you are probably not an orchestra librarian.

PPS.  When librarians, prior to part preparation, ask if the soloist will be taking cuts in the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, and, if so, what the exact cuts will be, the first answer is always “the usual cuts.”  Then the librarian has to go back to the artistic administrator, artist manager, or artist, and ask again for the cuts with the specific measure numbers.  Because standard as they may seem, not everyone does them exactly the same, even though they call them the “standard” or “usual” cuts and you really don’t want to have the wrong cuts in the parts at the rehearsal.  Highly embarrassing, especially if said librarian is a violinist too….

PPPS.  To assuage the curiosity of anyone who cares:  the young accordionist took the following cuts (of course, while playing all the orchestral parts in addition to the solo violin part): the end of bar 68 to the beginning of bar 81, the end of bar 258 to the beginning of bar 271,the end of bar 422 to the beginning of bar 431, the end of bar 475 to the beginning of bar 488.  Standard cuts?  Some?  All?  You tell me.

About the author

Karen Schnackenberg
Karen Schnackenberg

Karen Schnackenberg has been Chief Librarian of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra since 1990. Prior to that she was orchestra librarian and violinist with the New Orleans Symphony, Santa Fe Opera, Oklahoma Symphony, and Chamber Orchestra of Oklahoma City. She holds degrees in Music Education/Violin (Bachelors) and Violin Performance (Masters, emphasis in Baroque Performance Practice and Music Theory), with honors, from the University of Oklahoma. She also studied at the Aspen Music Festival and the Meadowmount School of Music. From 1987-1999 she was the classical music columnist for the International Musician, the industry’s trade paper for professional musicians. Karen is Vice President of the Major Orchestra Librarians’ Association (MOLA), a professional association of over 225 orchestras, bands, opera and ballet companies worldwide, and will begin her term as President at that organization’s first European conference in Zürich in April, 2006. Karen also currently serves on the Executive Board of the Dallas/Fort Worth local of the American Federation of Musicians and, in her spare time, is a free-lance violinist, an avid reader, an amateur photographer, and a hiker.

Leave a Reply