Now is the right time to become an American Federation of Musicians member. From ragtime to rap, from the early phonograph to today's digital recordings, the AFM has been there for its members. And now there are more benefits available to AFM members than ever before, including a multi-million dollar pension fund, excellent contract protection, instrument and travelers insurance, work referral programs and access to licensed booking agents to keep you working.

As an AFM member, you are part of a membership of more than 80,000 musicians. Experience has proven that collective activity on behalf of individuals with similar interests is the most effective way to achieve a goal. The AFM can negotiate agreements and administer contracts, procure valuable benefits and achieve legislative goals. A single musician has no such power.

The AFM has a proud history of managing change rather than being victimized by it. We find strength in adversity, and when the going gets tough, we get creative - all on your behalf.

Like the industry, the AFM is also changing and evolving, and its policies and programs will move in new directions dictated by its members. As a member, you will determine these directions through your interest and involvement. Your membership card will be your key to participation in governing your union, keeping it responsive to your needs and enabling it to serve you better. To become a member now, visit



#TakeTwoKnees and #LiftEveryVoice

Union Musicians Protest Racism Clarinetist Anthony McGill of Local 802 (New York City) on May 29 posted a challenge to his social media pages to put a spotlight on racism—and it has gone viral throughout the orchestral community. McGill’s challenge was the result of his feelings over the death of George Floyd at the hands […]

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A Conversation with Double Bassist Joel Quarrington

Joel Quarrington, a life member of Local 149 (Toronto, ON) and Local 180 (Ottawa, ON), has served for over 30 years as the principal double bassist of many ensembles including the Canadian Opera Company, the Toronto Symphony, Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra, and the London Symphony Orchestra. He also teaches at the University of Ottawa […]

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Emily Levin

The Power of Music to Soothe the “Savage Breast” In a time such as now filled with so much strife and anger, it’s comforting to think that music can soothe the soul (or the “savage breast,” as was written in 1697). It was this power of music, in fact, that ignited in Emily Levin when […]

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Reinvention of Live Performance?

by Bernard LeBlanc and Richard Sandals, Director and Associate Director, AFM Symphonic Services, Canada When we were told in March to close concert halls and put everything on pause, we all understood the urgency of the situation, but few of us expected things to be as serious as what we have faced since then. Our […]

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AFM Orchestras Receive NEA Spring 2020 Awards

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in June awarded grant funding to 20 AFM orchestras through its FY20 Art Works Part 2 grant category: Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, $30,000  Austin Symphony, $25,000  Boston Symphony Orchestra, $50,000  Columbus Symphony Orchestra, $10,000  El Paso Symphony Orchestra, $20,000  Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, $20,000  Grant Park Music Festival, $30,000  […]

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28 U.S. Orchestras to Receive Grants from League of American Orchestras

The League of American Orchestras on June 4 awarded grants to 28 U.S. orchestras to strengthen their understanding of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) and to help transform organizational culture. Twenty-two of the winning orchestras operate under AFM Collective Bargaining Agreements. Ranging from $15,000 to $25,000 each, the one-year grants comprise the second round of […]

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‡‡ Please remember that each local must provide to the International President’s Office a copy of any side letter, memorandum of understanding, or other agreement (including any special agreements dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic) between a symphonic employer and an AFM local. Email completed, signed agreements to ‡‡ If your local […]

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St. Paul Chamber Orchestra Announces a Season Without Guest Artists

The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra has announced its 2020-2021 season, which will exclusively feature its own musicians as soloists. In total, 15 St. Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO) musicians are planned to solo with the orchestra. SPCO has eliminated guest artists for the upcoming season due to the loss of revenue caused by the pandemic. SPCO […]

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Nashville Symphony Orchestra Announces Furloughs

The Nashville Symphony Association (NSA) announced in June plans to furlough all members of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra beginning July 1. The organization received a loan from the Payroll Protection Program but said it cannot continue to pay the musicians once those funds run out in June. The NSA also announced that the entire 2020-2021 […]

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ROPA Conference to be Held Online

The 37th Annual ROPA Conference, originally scheduled to meet July 28-30 in Orange County at the Hilton Orange County/Costa Mesa will be held online this summer, due to COVID-19. The ROPA Board and Conference Committee are in the process of planning the new conference and should have more information and registration up on the website […]

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