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, Symphonic Services Division

59th Annual ICSOM Conference Held as a Hybrid Event

by Laura Ross, ICSOM Secretary, Nashville Symphony Member, and Member of Local 257 (Nashville, TN) It took an additional year for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) to host the 59th annual International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM) Conference held August 11-14, 2021 at the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown hotel. Our hosts from PSO […]


Orchestra Members Gather Virtually for 2021 ROPA Conference

Earlier this spring it became apparent that the Regional Orchestra Players Association (ROPA) conference would be held virtually for a second year. We considered the impact of the COVID crisis on our orchestras and the resulting financial hits our musicians and locals had taken, as well as the hesitancy of many of our members to […]


Update from the SSD Director

Find out what has been going on in the Symphonic Services Division amidst COVID-19 with this update from the SSD Director Rochelle Skolnick.


In Times of Crisis – Finding New Ways to Communicate

by Deborah Newmark, AFM Director of Symphonic Electronic Media As I write this, we are 15 months into the COVID-19 pandemic and on the threshold of transitioning back to normal in the US. At the start of the pandemic, as musicians all over the world were sent home without any idea of when they would […]


Symphonic Resurrection

by Meredith Snow, ICSOM Chair and Member of Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) After 15 months of pandemic paralysis, our orchestras are going back to work. The quick nationwide rollout of vaccines by the Biden administration is creating the possibility of a near-normal summer season and the probability of a full return this fall. It […]


ICSOM Conference Went Virtual in July

Confinement, quarantine, social distancing, furlough, innovation, activism, creativity, and inclusion were all explored and discussed during this year’s International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM) Conference held July 15-17 via Zoom. Rather than meeting in August with the Pittsburgh Symphony as our hosts, the ICSOM Governing Board decided that everyone’s health and safety was […]


Conferencing in the Time of Pandemic: 2020 ROPA Conference Report

Earlier this year, when it became apparent that “The COVID” would present challenges to getting dozens of Regional Orchestra Players Association (ROPA) delegates and guests from across the country on airplanes to fly to Orange County, CA (ROPA’s 2020 Conference site), the ROPA board decided a video conference would be the best way to proceed. […]


OCSM Conference in a Time of Pandemic

(français) The Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians (OCSM) held its 2020 conference online for the first time from August 10-12 using the Zoom platform. Before diving into the conference topics, I should add that in addition to our three days in August, delegates also met online over three days in late May to give our […]


IN MEMORIAM: Chris Durham

When SSD Negotiator Chris Durham passed away on August 22, 2020 after a courageous battle with cancer, musicians everywhere lost a fierce advocate.


Bargaining for a Safe Return to the Symphonic Workplace

Some orchestral employers have started to plan various scenarios under which musicians might come back to work, e.g., through some combination of small ensembles, socially distanced audiences, and streaming of content. Some musicians are anxious to resume work, for reasons both economic and non-economic; others are justifiably concerned that in the absence of a safe, […]








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