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 www.afm.org/join.

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Orchestra News

Philadelphia Orchestra Announces Strong Fiscal Year

The Philadelphia Orchestra ended its 2014 fiscal year with a small surplus of $670,000 on its $39.6 million budget, showing the orchestra’s turnaround since emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy two years ago. The 2013-2014 season was a great success for the orchestra. Ticket revenue was up from previous seasons—$14.1 million, compared to $11.4 million in […]


The New Balance of Power in Washington, DC

On November 4, AFM members across the country exercised their rights as they voted in national midterm elections. As Republican candidates picked up victories across the country, important AFM House and Senate champions from both parties were able to retain their seats. Our eyes were set on those who, over the years, have exercised leadership […]


Memphis Symphony Orchestra Musicians Accept Pay Cut

In October, musicians of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra (MSO) accepted a 38% pay cut in order to allow the organization to regain its footing. The concession is for the current year only and will then be renegotiated. In addition to the wage cut, the orchestra’s season length will be reduced from 39 weeks to 24 […]


Dayton Philharmonic Signs New Contract

Members of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra (Dayton Arts Alliance) have signed a new contract. Orchestra members voted in May 2014 for a three-year contract through August 2017. The agreement includes a 3% increase in wages for contracted members, a health benefit of $275 per season paid to each contracted member, and a small increase in […]


Minnesota Orchestra Hires Executive Director

The Minnesota Orchestra has announced the hiring of Kevin Smith as President and CEO. Smith was named interim executive director after the orchestra’s previous CEO, Michael Henson, stepped down in August, in the aftermath of the 16-month musician lockout. Previously, Smith was executive director of the Minnesota Opera. The board, overwhelmingly impressed with Smith’s work, […]


Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Lockout Ends

After a two-month lockout, musicians and management of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) reached an agreement on a new four-year contract in early November. The contract, negotiated with the help of federal mediators, does not call for any pay cuts; in fact, wages will increase by 6% over the four years. Musicians will contribute more […]


Atlanta Symphony Orchestra President Resigns; Lockout Continues: UPDATE

The lockout of the musicians of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) continues, as the Woodruff Arts Center (WAC)—the umbrella organization for ASO—has canceled concerts through November 8. Musicians’ paychecks have come to a stop and their health insurance has been canceled. At the end of September, Stanley Romanstein resigned his position as ASO president and […]


St. Louis’s Muny Theatre, One of the Most Important Musical Theatres in America

The largest and oldest outdoor musical theatre in America started out in 1916 as a grassy little spot between two oak trees. Clear away some shrubs and small trees here, build a retaining wall there, and voilá! Such was the humble birth of The Muny Theatre in St. Louis, Missouri. Ninety-eight years later, The Muny […]


Larger Orchestras Bring Excitement to Broadway Shows

While touring orchestration sizes remain a concern, the past few years have seen an encouraging return to original, large orchestras in revivals of classics on Broadway. For example, the revival of South Pacific at Lincoln Center Theater, which played sold out shows for two years (2008-2010) used a 29-piece orchestra, as does the upcoming revival […]


Theatre Orchestration Trends and Possibilities

I wrote an article in the May 2014 issue of the TMA Pit Bulletin entitled “Trends in Orchestration.” On hearing that this issue of the IM is focused on theatre, I decided to expand on those thoughts. For the past decade, and perhaps longer, there has been a trend with some of the shows being […]








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