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, Symphonic Services Division

Resilience, Renewal, and Our Future in Labor

But what has unfolded over these past two years has been far more complicated than any of us imagined and the notion of a post-COVID world has given way to one in which we learn to live, uneasily, alongside a devastating disease that has shown its ability to upend our plans again and again.

ICSOM Musicians Unite to Show Support for Ukraine

As we are rising from the ashes of the COVID pandemic, we are facing another predicament. This catastrophic and unnecessary war is escalating already rising inflation rates. With more than half of our orchestras negotiating within the next six months, we will be hard pressed to keep pace with rising expenses, to say nothing of making up lost income from the previous two years.

Third Time’s the Charm: ROPA to Meet In-Person

Most of our Regional Orchestra Players’ Association (ROPA) orchestras have gotten back to work over the past several months. There are lots of side letter agreements, contract extensions, and COVID protocols to deal with. I expect the next year will be full of negotiations and rollbacks of COVID protocols as we continue to return to live performing. There will likely be a new “normal” for our concerts and way of doing business, having been affected by two years of the pandemic, Zoom, streaming, and the many other adjustments that had to be made to keep the music going. There will need to be a great deal of patience and understanding for everyone as the playing field for many of our orchestras may well have changed.

OCSM: The Long Coda

The pandemic has made all of us reluctant to attempt to predict the future. (Remember the predictions that this would be over by fall 2020?) What will our future audiences look like? Will we ever return to prepandemic work density? Nobody wants to attempt to predict anything anymore, which will be a huge challenge to our negotiating committees, many of which are active now.

Orchestras and Musicians Stand with Ukraine

Within days of the first the Russian attack on Ukraine in February, support for the Ukrainian people fighting for their freedom began to ring out in performing arts venues worldwide. From the Ukrainian national anthem performed by the Metropolitan Opera and Orchestra while the opera house was lit up in blue and yellow, to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra recording and releasing a video performance of “Prayer for Ukraine,” musicians at countless AFM orchestras are using their art form to raise awareness and promote solidarity.

San Antonio Musicians Continue Strike Amid Broken Negotiations

Musicians of the San Antonio Symphony continue their strike, pushing for a fair contract for 72 full-time musicians. The musicians, members of Local 23 (San Antonio, TX), went on strike September 27 in response to management’s imposed contract that reduced the number of full-time musicians and cut wages. They have rejected the symphony board’s last offer […]

Texas AFL-CIO PRO Act Rally Highlights San Antonio Musicians’ Struggles

Major Texas unions, labor, and progressive groups gathered in San Antonio on February 18 to make noise for the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act and to deride its number one opponent in the US House, Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-D), who has come under fire for his record of voting against the interests of […]

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Expands Fellowship for Black Musicians

Toward the end of December, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) announced a significant expansion of its preprofessional fellowship for Black musicians. Since 2007, the program has selected a new musician every two years for performance opportunities and professional development training. Now, multiple musicians will be accepted and provided with more extensive developmental support. The program […]

BSO Foundation Launches Mentoring Project

The Baltimore Symphony Musicians Foundation has launched a new program dedicated to teaching and mentoring young Black and Hispanic/Latinx students who are committed to study music. The Teaching and Mentoring Program for Orchestra (TEMPO) will pair students with Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) musicians to help students refine their skills and master the repertoire, while also […]

Springfield Symphony Orchestra Musicians Will Use Settlement to Stage Concerts

On January 4, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced a monetary settlement of $276,406 to resolve a complaint against the Springfield Symphony Orchestra (SSO). The organization violated federal labor law by breaching the terms of its last contract with SSO’s 71 musicians. The Orchestra Musicians’ Committee offered to drop all charges against SSO and […]