In July 2012 we published the first in a series of reports about community music activity: Community Orchestras in Australia. The report includes the first statistical picture of what community-based orchestras are playing around Australia.
One initiative created after this research is our Repertoire Bank - a collection of programs from community orchestras.
No, we're not only interested in community orchestras, this is just the beginning! Our next focus is on community-based choirs and community singing activities.
One of the common issues we hear about when speaking to community music leaders is finding repertoire. It's an issue for all kinds of ensembles - orchestras, bands, choirs, and other ensembles. Here at the Music in Communities Network we're interested in this issue, how we can support community music groups, and how everyone can help each other. First of all, what resources are out there to support community music groups and where can large ensembles in particular (orchestras, bands) find sheet music? Secondly, what do ciommunity music groups want to play, how do they manage their programming and repertoire, and how can we help?
The former Orchestras of Australia Network (TOAN) managed an Orchestral Scores and Parts (OSP) scheme, where orchestras around the country could access the music libraries of other orchestras to borrow sheet music from one another. As the new member organisation for community-based ensembles (including many former TOAN members), we're looking broadly at this and other ways to access sheet music.
Hiring Sheet Music
There are a number of large music libraries in Australia, and of course many small ones. The following offer sheet music for hire. In general, it is only possibly to hire music which is out of copyright (ie. the bulk of the classical repertoire), other than Australian Music Centre's library which has recent works by Australian composers which aren't available through other publishers, and of course hiring directly from publishers for copyrighted works.
Symphony Services International
This library services the major symphony orchestras in Australia and was gifted to SSI by the ABC when the six state orchestras became seperate companies.
Number of titles: 460,000
Searchable: Online database
Phone: Music Library staff - (02) 8622 9486 (Vi King Lim) or (02) 8622 9486 (Emily Whitmore).
Membership: According to their website, "Subscriber" membership (the category for community-based orchestras and schools) is $300 per year. For this, subscribers receive a discount on sheet music hire and the deposit is waived.
Hire Fees: $88-$187 for orchestral sets, depending on size of orchestra / length of piece. Perusal scores $16.50. Discounts apply for members, additional fees for extended hire. Deposit required for non-members. Click here for more information.
Victorian Music Library
Location: Melbourne (64-66 Orrong Road, Elsternwick).
Number of titles: Approximately 15,000
Searchable: Yes, via PDFs on website. Or visit on Tuesdays & Thursdays
Phone: (03) 9528 3135
Membership: $150 (organisations), $70 (individuals), $30 (students). This entitles members to 12 works for organisations, 6 for individuals/students. Click here for more information.
Australian Music Centre
Location: Sydney (Level 4, 10 Hickson Road, The Rocks)
Number of titles: Sheet music: Approximately 8000, all Australian works. Digital Library (perusal, not for performance parts): Approximately 6700
Searchable:Yes, via online Repertoire Navigator (database). Or visit Monday-Thursday.
Some repertorie listings have links to program notes and articles, audio samples, and information about the level of difficulty etc. Click here for an example (a piece by Paul Stenhope)
Phone: 02 9247 4677
Membership:$220 (organisations, ensembles, institutions), $150 (schools), $90 (individuals), $40 (Tertiary students), $25 (Secondary school students)
Hire fees: Depending on the length of work, number of parts, etc. Discounts apply for community groups.
Early Music Association
The EMA's library of Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque and some Classical Music is available for hire to members of the EMA, Sydney Society of Recorder Players and Association of Viola da Gamba Players.
Click here for more information.
New Music Online Library (USA) - an open source of new American works. library.newmusicusa.org
The International Music Score Library Project (IMSPL), a wiki with orchestral scores for public domain works. nb. This site strives to comply with Canadian copyright laws, where it is based. imslp.org
The Music in Communities Network Repertoire Bank was created in July 2012 as a resource for our members. It aims to share information about programming for community music ensembles, enable dynamic music making, and encourage community groups to share their ideas.