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


Orchestra News

Detroit Symphony Orchestra Settles Contract Ahead of Schedule

Musicians and management of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) agreed to a new three-year contract in January, eight months in advance of the current contract’s expiration date. The last time DSO went through contract negotiations, it led to a six-month musician strike. This time around, the faces around the bargaining table were almost entirely new, […]

Fashion Meets the Phil at Burbank Philharmonic

Burbank Philharmonic Orchestra’s collaboration with Woodbury University’s School of Fashion Design was “an immediate good fit,” according to Dr. Kathryn Hagen, chair of the fashion department. At the November Fashion Meets the Phil gala concert, a guest artist and four orchestra musicians, members of Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA), wore gowns specially designed by Woodbury […]

New York Philharmonic Ratifies Contract

Musicians of the New York Philharmonic ratified a new contract December 13. The contract is retroactive to September 20, 2013, when the previous deal expired. Musicians will see modest wage increases in each of the contract’s four years, for a total wage increase of 6.5%. That will bring base salaries to $146,848 by the final […]

Violinist Fined $120K for Not Declaring Instruments

According to the CBC, Canadian musician Yosuke Kawasaki of Local 180 (Ottawa, ON) was fined $120,000 Can, plus PST, for not declaring his instruments—a $385,000 violin and three bows worth $90,000, $6,800, and $2,000. Born and trained in New York, Kawasaki is concertmaster of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa. The instruments were initially […]

Minnesota Orchestra Lockout Ends at 16 Months

On January 14, musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra ratified a new CBA that brings to an end the devastating 16-month lockout that canceled the entire 2012-2013 season and half of the current season. The new contract goes into effect February 1 and the first performances will take place soon after. Musicians agreed to a 15% […]

Lexington Philharmonic Avoids Strike

The Lexington Philharmonic narrowly avoided a strike of its season-opening concert in September. Salaries were not the issue, but rather, musicians opposed changes to work rules. The most significant among these included management’s call for the removal of the peer-review process, through which musicians have the final say on the dismissal of fellow orchestra members, […]

Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic Sees Gains in New Contract

Musicians and management of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic (NPP) recently negotiated a new contract, which took effect in October and will last through August 2016. The CBA offers musicians modest increases in compensation and benefits. The musicians’ negotiating team included Local 45 (Allentown, PA) President Janice Galassi, who served as chief negotiator; Local 140 (Wilkes-Barre, […]

Dallas Symphony Orchestra Ratifies Contract

Members of Dallas Symphony Orchestra approved a new two-year contract, with a start date retroactive to September 1, 2013. Musicians will receive a 1% base salary increase in 2013, as well as a one-time $750 bonus, and will see a 2% increase in 2014. If the orchestra is able to meet its fundraising goals, the […]

Pacific Symphony Reaches Contract Agreement

After more than a year of negotiations, musicians of the Pacific Symphony reached an agreement with management in early October. The previous contract expired in August 2012 and the musicians continued to play and talk throughout the past season. The four-year agreement is retroactive to August 2012 and lasts through August 2016. Over the life […]

Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Reports Deficit

Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO) reported a $1.8 million deficit for its recently concluded fiscal year, citing a drop in donations as the cause. The orchestra had ended its previous two fiscal years with balanced budgets thanks to large, last-minute gifts. MSO currently depends on donations to cover 70% of its budget, and management has noted […]