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, Recent News

Philly Orchestra Tours, but Under Protest

The Philadelphia Orchestra’s musicians boarded buses bound for a scheduled North Carolina performance tour “under protest,” despite what Local 77 (Philadelphia, PA) leaders called stalled contract talks, according to a union statement. The orchestra’s performances at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are the musicians’ first since their contract expired September 10. They […]

NYC Ballet Musicians Fight for Fair Contract

On the opening night of the ballet’s 2023 season, the Musicians of the New York City Ballet Orchestra (NYCB) organized a rally outside of Lincoln Center. Hundreds of musicians and supporters took to the sidewalks to demonstrate their support. The NYCB musicians’ contract has expired, and they are demanding compensation for the sacrifices they have […]

ICSOM Marks 61 Years and Counting

by Paul Austin, ICSOM President and member of Local 56 (Grand Rapids, MI) The 61st annual conference of the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM) will be hosted by AFM Local 8 (Milwaukee, WI), and the musicians of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO). The conference will be held from Wednesday, August 23, through […]

Quebec Musicians Achieve New Union Agreement 

For the musicians of the Orchestre symphonique de Québec (OSQ), ratifying a new AFM collective bargaining agreement on January 27 was the culmination of two solid years of hard work. The new four-year agreement marks the first contract negotiated in 15 years for the orchestra with Local 406 (Montreal, PQ), la Guilde des musiciens et […]

As Canadian Orchestras Recover from Pandemic Closures, OCSM Turns Attention to Four Areas of Concern 

As I’m writing this (mid-March) I am reminded that it’s the third anniversary of the worldwide shutdown of orchestras due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In my own orchestra, the anniversary went by unremarked, and with a near sold-out concert. But I am reminded, whenever I see a mask on stage or in the audience, that […]

Fort Wayne Philharmonic Musicians Prevail in 13-Week Strike 

Calling their first ever strike against the Fort Wayne Philharmonic was a difficult decision but musicians, members of Local 58 (Fort Wayne, IN), who firmly believed they had no choice. Nine bargaining sessions over more than three months had failed to move the employer from its onerous bargaining positions, which included the elimination of one […]

Fort Wayne Philharmonic Continues Strike with Rejection of Most Recent Offer

In mid-January, musicians for the Fort Wayne Philharmonic rejected the most recent contract offer from management. While the parties have reached agreement on wages for a four-year contract, the strike continues because management is demanding a number of changes to the contract that serve no immediate purpose but would severely undermine musicians’ rights during the […]

Fort Wayne Philharmonic Musicians on Strike

Musicians of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Players’ Association and Local 58 (Fort Wayne, IN) are on strike for the first time in their orchestra’s history. The musicians, who have been performing under an expired contract since September 1, are demanding fair wages and better working conditions, after making significant sacrifices during the pandemic. In May […]

2022 Brings New Season of Negotiations for Tireless AFM SSD Staff

As I write this, the summer of 2022 is winding down and I am still feeling the resonance of attending the annual meetings of all three symphonic player conferences in person for the first time since 2019. In this issue, the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM), Regional Orchestra Players’ Association (ROPA), and […]

New Orchestra for San Antonio Brings Fresh Approach

With astonishing speed, the musicians of the former San Antonio Symphony, Local 23 (San Antonio, TX) have launched a brand new organization.