Behind the scenes at Bärenreiter
Alkor-Editions / Agency for Stage and Orchestral Music
Alkor-Edition is a subsidiary of Bärenreiter Verlag. As a stage and orchestral music department, it distributes the performance material available for hire from the Bärenreiter publishing group worldwide, from early to the very latest music. As an agency, it represents a number of prestigious German and foreign music publishers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. It also operates as a publishing house with its own profile and edition series, primarily in the field of 19th-century French musical theatre.
Alkor-Edition provides information about its new releases, repertoire, and novelties in its ever-growing range of stage and orchestral pieces. It is in close contact with performers, programme organisers, and with all those responsible for programming in the directors’ offices of international theatres, concert halls and festivals. The magazine “[t]akte”, a newsletter, and the website www.takte-online.de ensure that all important information reaches those who (are to) bring the works to the stage.
Contracts are the bridge between Alkor-Edition and performances of the music it publishes and represents: since composers and publishers have entrusted the publishing house with protecting their rights of use, the agency makes contractual arrangements for all stage performances and oversees the remuneration for radio broadcasts and all royalty and fee settlements. Alkor-Edition also ensures customer service, calculates costs and processes orders, and last but not least organises the shipment of performance material from the publishing house out across the globe.
Marie Luise Maintz
Kassel wholesale delivery / warehouse
Bärenreiter’s Kassel wholesale delivery facility is chaotic – but no need to worry: there is method to this madness! Our team of a dozen staff keeps track of the approximately 30,000 flexibly allocated storage spaces. The bustling 4,500 sqm warehouse in the Rothenditmold district of Kassel is Bärenreiter Verlag’s transhipment point. This is where freshly printed sheet music and books are delivered, incoming goods are checked and recorded, customer orders are processed, and deliveries are put together, packed and sent on their way as quickly as possible – tens of thousands of packages every year. This makes the Kassel wholesale delivery facility a reliable and efficient partner for the music world – because it truly is only our way of managing the storage space that is chaotic!
Thomas Dubowy / GS
The article data department consists of a peerless trio with almost 37 years of shared experience at Bärenreiter. Our three colleagues complement one another other perfectly and ensure the seamless maintenance of title data. Whether merchandise management, price reference databases or web stores, new publications or reprints – we deal with every single title, from the planning phase to maculation. With a passion for structured data and IT, we collect all information on Bärenreiter’s titles centrally and ascertain that it can be made available in a congruent and up-to-date manner. Because so much information comes together in our department, if something goes wrong, we are often able to get things running smoothly again. In short: we’re the ones who keep everything going!
Janna Adriana Gleissner, Ann-Christin Groß, Katharina Illenseer, Cornelia Napp
The accounting department is hardly at the forefront of people’s perception of Bärenreiter Verlag. Nevertheless, we are the company’s backbone – every payment, every invoice and every salary goes through our systems. Accordingly, we see production and indeed the entire publishing house from a completely different perspective than the other departments. For many, accounting is the epitome of monotony, yet our work forms the basis of every business decision. This is why avoiding mistakes is even more crucial for us than for other departments, and our rigour means we are often called bean counters. We are actually anything but that – but joking aside, the numbers have to be correct!
he production department, a team of six, is in charge of the production of sheet music and music books. Calculations and scheduling are the first step. After coordinating with the editorial office, the music, texts, illustrations and the cover are then carefully designed in cooperation with external music and text typesetters familiar with Bärenreiter’s special requirements.
Close contact with print shops then ensures that the titles are produced in high quality, whether sheet music editions ranging from slim booklets to volumes of several hundred pages, short digital print runs, rental material for orchestral musicians, books, or custom-made products. The use of bold black ink on choice papers makes for optimum readability. For the Urtext editions, we use our own tinted paper that does not reflect light, making it ideal for the artificial lighting on stages and in opera pits. When it comes to binding, we focus on ease of opening and durability, for example through flexible thread stitching, especially for substantial editions.
The department is responsible for the production of lavish facsimile editions in fine half-leather bindings as well as of complete works editions bound in linen. Books with individual covers, the numerous editions of sheet music with their partly uniform, partly appealing, always distinctive cover design and digital editions complete the range.
Editorial office / books
Book editors read. This trite-seeming piece of information actually covers a range of activities: after all, we don’t just read finished texts, we make sure that these texts are created in the first place. Work often begins with an editor’s own idea for a book that might be of interest to a particular target audience. The editor then has to look for suitable authors, work out viable content concepts with them, determine the tone of the text, develop guidelines for the design with the layout artist and, if necessary, also secure printing cost subsidies. However, the heart of the editorial process is copy-editing the texts. We spend months working meticulously with authors to create the best possible version of the text (occasionally feeling like a midwife, trainer, stage director or therapist in the process), then supervise the layout up to the final print version and develop ideas on how to present the book to the public. “Editing” thus involves far more than just reading!
Human Resources / Building Services / Head Office / Management Secretary’s Office
The IT department deals with problems at Bärenreiter Verlag that would not exist without IT on a day-to-day basis. Phone call from a colleague: “My monitor isn’t working!” IT: “Is it turned on?” “Yes, of course!” “Then turn it off.” “Now it’s working.” The department deals with IT as a corporate resource and makes suggestions for the strategic development of IT systems. In doing so, we see ourselves as a reliable, friendly and competent service provider. To deal with these daily tasks, we have chips, cookies, and hard drives.
are where all the threads come together. We juggle figures, analyse turnover and give sales forecasts, and, together with our colleagues in London and Prague, look after customers all over the world. After a two-year pandemic-induced break, we can’t wait to start visiting our dealer clients again and to be back at trade fairs and events in person!
But we are involved in Bärenreiter’s portfolio, too: we are in constant exchange with our editors from the concept to the finished edition.
This means we are able to communicate our titles’ special features to our customers, while at the same time passing on the needs of musicians and dealers to the editorial office.
Together with the communications department, we develop marketing strategies, prepare sales campaigns, and upload content to our social media channels. And on the side we also translate a lot of article data and texts into English.
In customer service, we enjoy the exchange with customers from all over the world. We answer questions, capture orders and are experts in anything to do with shipping to distant destinations. We are proud of getting orders on their way speedily so that they are on musicians’ desks in time for rehearsals and concerts. Our team spirit and customers’ satisfaction with our work are what motivates us every day.
The sales team
A flyer is quickly designed for an event. The data of the new publications has to be added to Bärenreiter’s new catalogue. There is an ad page to fill in “Musik & Kirche”. Deutschlandfunk would like to conduct an interview with the management. “Nineteenth-Century Music Review” has requested a review copy to be sent to New Zealand, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wants a book to be sent to Frankfurt. The webshop needs to be updated. The animation of our popular Christmas e-card is being given its finishing touches, and social media are being filled with photos and videos.
The communications department, which combines advertising with press and public relations, deals with a vast range of tasks day after day. And usually everything has to be done at lightning speed…
What the current team of six colleagues are working on, besides the books and sheet music, are Bärenreiter Verlag’s visual “calling cards”: catalogues, brochures, flyers, letterheads, promotional items, including this anniversary magazine, all in a recognisable design. The communications department also maintains the website www.baerenreiter.com. Its press releases address the media. In turn, media reviews of and reports on our editions, books and the company itself, contribute significantly to Bärenreiter’s prominence.
The department has particularly close ties with our colleagues in the editorial and sales departments, who are our main points of contact for content and marketing. À propos calling cards: Bärenreiter’s business cards, too, are produced by the communications department.
“What you are, you are only through contracts!” Fasolt’s words to the unfortunate god Wotan in Rheingold hit the nail on the head – with Wagner, how could it be otherwise – for without contracts there can be no products, and without products there can be no publisher.
The legal department, with its team of five staff, deals first of all with contracts of all types: from licensing agreements (sale and purchase of rights) to the many publishing contracts with authors and major cooperation agreements for special projects.
The legal department thus stands at the beginning of a Bärenreiter product, and the department remains a faithful companion until the very last copy is sold or rented out and even beyond, for it is also where the rights to the work are traded and above all where authors’ fees are settled.
“What you are, you are only through the law,” to rephrase Fasolt’s sentence even more pointedly. After all, without the law, there can be no contracts. Accordingly, the legal department is also the point of contact for all legal issues large and small that arise in the day-to-day dealings of a large music publishing company. The range extends from more mundane matters such as the Packaging Ordinance and General Terms and Conditions to questions about the legality of individual social media and advertising campaigns to cover designs, title protection, and general civil and copyright matters and even the prosecution of breaches of the law.
The department’s work thus covers the entire spectrum of publishing activities, at least as far as any kind of paragraphs are concerned. And ultimately they always are!
Editorial Office / music
The music editorial office currently has twelve staff, all working to realise and maintain Bärenreiter’s diverse portfolio in the different editorial fields of opera, choral, orchestral and chamber music, piano, organ, solo singing, music education, contemporary music, and complete works editions. As product managers overseeing new editions from the concept stage to publication (and beyond), they need to hold their projects’ reins. They dedicate themselves to works that, for a variety of reasons, require a new edition, and set out to find the right editors able to edit these works in such a way that the editions satisfy the requirements of scholarship and practice alike. Within the publishing house, they present their ideas for new titles, provide the information needed for internal calculations, clarify legal issues with the legal department, correspond with editors, authors, composers, and arrangers, coordinate music typesetting and proofreading, commission translations, make suggestions for covers, and write advertising copy. As part of this, the editors maintain contacts with editorial institutions, universities and music colleges, authors, arrangers, translators, music typesetters, proofreaders, foundations, sponsors and many more. Moreover, they are available to answer any questions customers might have about our editions. Along the way, they also attend trade shows and conventions to present their titles and get fresh inspiration. The work in the editorial office is as diverse as Bärenreiter’s portfolio!