Elaine Gould – Senior Music Editor at Faber Music and the author of acclaimed notation guide Behind Bars – will retire at the end of September 2023. Following a break this coming autumn, Gould (who first started freelance work with the company in 1983, before joining the permanent staff four years later) will continue in the new role of Editor Emeritus.

Across her remarkable career, Gould has worked intensively with many of the classical composers on the Faber Music roster. She has also been a driving force in creating new performing editions of Ralph Vaughan Williams and Frank Bridge. You can read and watch an interview with Gould about her early years and subsequent work at Faber Music here.

Behind Bars (2011) is a particular testament to the meticulousness, imagination, and perspicacity Gould brings to her vocation. Widely acknowledged as the definitive guide to music notation, garnering praise from Sir Simon Rattle, Tom Service, and Gramophone, to date it has sold over 15,000 copies, establishing its importance now and in years to come for students, composers, arrangers, and performers of all kinds. It is also available as the German-language edition Hals über Kopf, published by Faber Music with Edition Peters. Part I of Behind Bars - the General Conventions, presenting the basic principles of music notation - will be published as a standalone volume this spring. 

Behind Bars, fifteen years in the making, distils Gould’s time working closely with leading composers on varied and complex scores, and her practical experience as a musician. It showcases a remarkable understanding of composition and music-making that is both theoretically sophisticated and grounded in practice.

Richard King, CEO of Faber Music, remarked,

“Elaine has been both a friend and the closest of colleagues for over 30 years. Watching her grow from editor to authority, then guru, over that time has been one of the joys of my professional life. Her uncompromising standards define Faber Music and will live on through both the immense canon of contemporary music publications issued under her authority, and the editorial standards she has permanently instilled in the company. Never has a retirement been more deserved!”

Gould said of her career at the company,

“Faber Music has consistently sustained the core values of quality, care, and with the interests of our composers at the heart of our business. This has been one of the prime motivations and satisfactions in my work over the last 36 years. This job has given me the most enviable opportunity to collaborate with some of the greatest musicians of our time. Seeing our composers grow and flourish from the inside – from the inner workings of their scores and manuscripts – has been a unique privilege.

No other publisher would have lavished such care, attention, and devotion in producing Behind Bars, which was the most fruitful collaborations of my career, and one of which all of us at Faber Music can be especially proud.”

The vacany for the role of Managing Editor (Contemporary Music) is now live and welcomes interested candidates to apply.