Write engaging program notes: Start with the facts
One approach to writing informative and authoritative program notes for your recital
Composer and work details
The first step in drafting your program notes is to confirm the composer's name (with correct spelling), birth and death dates, and the authoritative name of the work in its original language. Additional identifiers such as key, opus number, and year of composition are also important and will help you search for more information.
Includes the New Grove Online, the standard encyclopedia for music scholarship.
Open New Grove and search for your composer's name. At the start of the entry you will see the full spelling of their name, with any variants, and the date and place of their birth and death.
For "bigger names" you will see the article contents in the left side navigation, and a link to a works list near the end. Here you can find specifics about the work you are performing. You may find notes on when the work was composed, and in some cases, the date and place of the premiere.
Some contemporary composers, and older, lesser-known composers, may not be listed in New Grove. In this case, you'll want to search the SearchWorks catalog for composer biographies. Official websites for living composers are also a good source for reliable factual information.
Baker's celebrates its 100th anniversary with this six-volume format. The 9th edition covers all musical genres, with new entries written by a distinguished group of area specialists as well as the original articles by Nicolas Slonimsky. See also the 5th through 8th editions--occasionally a composer will be added or dropped between editions.