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

Orchestras Offer Virtual Independence Day Performances

  Orchestras across the US helped their communities celebrate the Fourth of July holiday with patriotic, virtual performances. The concerts were all given free of charge, some featuring special guest artists or partner organizations performing with the orchestra musicians. The Cincinnati Pops, for example, was joined by a local folk band and vocalist, while the Fort […]

AFM Orchestras Receive NEA Spring 2020 Awards

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in June awarded grant funding to 20 AFM orchestras through its FY20 Art Works Part 2 grant category: Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, $30,000  Austin Symphony, $25,000  Boston Symphony Orchestra, $50,000  Columbus Symphony Orchestra, $10,000  El Paso Symphony Orchestra, $20,000  Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, $20,000  Grant Park Music Festival, $30,000  […]

28 U.S. Orchestras to Receive Grants from League of American Orchestras

The League of American Orchestras on June 4 awarded grants to 28 U.S. orchestras to strengthen their understanding of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) and to help transform organizational culture. Twenty-two of the winning orchestras operate under AFM Collective Bargaining Agreements. Ranging from $15,000 to $25,000 each, the one-year grants comprise the second round of […]


‡‡ Please remember that each local must provide to the International President’s Office a copy of any side letter, memorandum of understanding, or other agreement (including any special agreements dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic) between a symphonic employer and an AFM local. Email completed, signed agreements to ‡‡ If your local […]

St. Paul Chamber Orchestra Announces a Season Without Guest Artists

The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra has announced its 2020-2021 season, which will exclusively feature its own musicians as soloists. In total, 15 St. Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO) musicians are planned to solo with the orchestra. SPCO has eliminated guest artists for the upcoming season due to the loss of revenue caused by the pandemic. SPCO […]

Nashville Symphony Orchestra Announces Furloughs

The Nashville Symphony Association (NSA) announced in June plans to furlough all members of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra beginning July 1. The organization received a loan from the Payroll Protection Program but said it cannot continue to pay the musicians once those funds run out in June. The NSA also announced that the entire 2020-2021 […]

ROPA Conference to be Held Online

The 37th Annual ROPA Conference, originally scheduled to meet July 28-30 in Orange County at the Hilton Orange County/Costa Mesa will be held online this summer, due to COVID-19. The ROPA Board and Conference Committee are in the process of planning the new conference and should have more information and registration up on the website […]

Grand Rapids Symphony Ratifies One-Year Contract

In mid-May, members of the Grand Rapids Symphony ratified a one-year contract, which extends the wages and other economic provisions of the previous agreement while updating some work rules. Covering the orchestra’s 50 full-time musicians, the contract takes effect September 1, 2020, the day after the expiration of the previous contract. Prior to the pandemic, […]

Orchestras Cancel Summer Festivals

Classical music’s most established summer seasons and festivals have been canceled from coast to coast due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The disappointing, though not unexpected, news has come from the Tanglewood Music Festival, summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra; the Los Angeles Philharmonic, which spends its summers at the Hollywood Bowl; Chicago’s Grant Park […]

LA Opera Cancels Remainder of Season, Reaches Agreements with Unions

The LA Opera has canceled its remaining performances, events, and in-person community outreach programs for the rest of the 2019-2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.