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

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 […]

Revised Airline Travel Advice for Musicians with Instruments

For years, musicians have faced numerous uncertainties when traveling on commercial aircraft. Many have been refused boarding, while those trying to make connecting flights have had to settle for inconveniences in order to complete their journey. In some cases, musicians have had to make the choice between stowing rare, expensive, and often irreplaceable musical instruments […]

Meet the Staff of the AFM’s Touring, Theatre, Booking and Immigration Division

If you’ve ever had questions about traveling engagements, touring with a show or artist, or questions about foreign ensembles performing in the US, chances are you have contacted the AFM’s Touring/Theatre/Booking and Immigration Division. This past year the division said farewell to former Director Steve Gelfand and welcomed Michael Manley, who returns to the post […]

Touring and Theatre Special

by Michael Manley, Director AFM Touring/Theatre/Booking and Immigration Division and Assistant to the President I am proud to introduce this month’s International Musician, which focuses on Touring and Theatre. Our cover story features the touring production of the most successful show in history, Disney’s The Lion King, which has been on the road continuously since […]

The Power of Organizing Through Diversity

On October 5-7, the AFM Diversity Committee met in Las Vegas, Nevada, to set local and national organizing plans in motion for 2014 and 2015.  Under the supervision of AFM President Ray Hair, Director of Organizing & Education Paul Frank, and myself, the committee laid out plans to survey and identify potential organizing opportunities within […]

Lexington Philharmonic has Ratified a New Contract

The Lexington Philharmonic has ratified a new contract, which will be in effect through June 2018. Negotiations began in April. The musicians’ previous contract expired at the end of June. The agreement provides for modest increases in both wages and mileage reimbursement. It also clarifies language regarding auditions, the musician peer review process, procedures for […]