April 19, 2018
Get to Know Maureen Conroy
Minnesota Orchestra Member Since: 2017
Position: Principal Librarian
Hometown: Valencia, CA
Education: University of California, Santa Barbara; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
How did you decide to become a music librarian?
When I went to school at Michigan, I was able to be a part of the work-study program. I chose to work in the Ensembles Library, which introduced me to the behind the scenes world of the music library. I enjoyed working there so much, I got in touch with the librarians in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra library to seek out an internship. I worked as an intern on the weekends throughout my master’s degree. The internship turned into a 32 hour-a-week job, and I filled the other hours with practicing, teaching and taking whatever gig came my way. I also took every horn audition I could. Then I took my first library audition in 2009 for the New York Philharmonic. I did better at that audition than I ever did at any horn audition and I was happier off-stage than on, so for me, the answer was clear.
Tell us about your proudest career moment.
There are many proud moments—getting tenure with the Utah Symphony and winning the job here in Minnesota top the list.
What has been especially exciting or challenging in your role at the Minnesota Orchestra?
I have never been on an international tour with an orchestra, so I am really looking forward to heading to South Africa in August. The new challenge for me is being in charge of all the music that gets performed. This orchestra goes through A LOT of repertoire. Keeping it straight and moving through the library can be overwhelming. Luckily, I have a great team in the library and we have each other's backs.
Maureen's daughter Florence, helping add notes to the music.
When you are able to sit in the audience and enjoy a concert, what composers or performers are your favorites to experience?
I am still a brass player at heart, so anything that has wonderful horn writing tops my list, such as Mahler, Strauss and Wagner. I also appreciate that this orchestra commissions new works on a regular basis, so I am exposed to new ideas and timbres I haven't experienced before.
Do you have any thoughts or advice for audience members?
Come to a concert you wouldn't normally attend! You may be surprised by how much you like something new.
What is one thing the music librarians do in their job that would surprise most people?
We transfer all the bow marking from the principal string part to the entire section by hands. No photocopies, just pencil to paper.
What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing a career as an orchestra librarian?
Explore the field by experiencing it firsthand! Seek out internships and guidance from people already doing those jobs. A strong musical background is a must; orchestral librarians are musicians first.
What are you doing when you are not in the music library?
Spending time with my husband and 2 year old daughter, hopefully outside!
Maureen with her husband and daughter.
What Minnesota activity are you excited to try for the first time?
While I miss my Utah mountains for downhill skiing, I would like to get into cross-country skiing next winter. This summer, I am hoping to spend some time around Lake Superior
What else should we know about you?
I briefly considered changing my major to art when I was in undergrad, where I worked as an illustrator for the school newspaper. I have had a children's book idea hanging in the back of my mind for long time. Maybe someday it will get out!