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.
September 27, 2019IM -
Guitarist and composer Mary Halvorson, 38, of Local 802 (New York City) has been named a 2019 MacArthur Foundation Fellow. The MacArthur Fellowship is a $625,000, no-strings-attached grant for individuals who have shown exceptional creativity in their work and the promise to do more.
According to the MacArthur Foundation, Halvorson “is pushing against established musical categories with a singular sound on her instrument and an aesthetic that evolves with each new album and configuration of bandmates. She melds her jazz roots with elements of experimental rock, folk, and other musical traditions, reflecting a wide range of stylistic influences. … A virtuosic performer and adventurous composer, Halvorson defies convention with her idiosyncratic, sonic explorations at the intersection of jazz and rock.”
Over the past dozen years, she has performed solo and in settings ranging from intimate chamber jazz ensembles to genre-crossing groups of five, seven, and eight players. Her debut album as a bandleader, Dragon’s Head (2008), features her original compositions written for a trio of guitar, string bass, and drums. On Away with You (2016), she leads an octet that blends the timbres of a brass section with the dramatic effects of a pedal steel guitar, an instrument more frequently associated with country music than with jazz.
For the double album Code Girl (2018), Halvorson composed both original music and lyrics for a quintet that includes her longtime, three-player collective, Thumbscrew, joined by a vocalist and trumpeter. Each track on the album showcases her interest in finding ever more imaginative ways to build intricate musical structures with ample space for improvisation and organic collaboration and to balance striking harmonies with moments of dissonance and distortion.
Halvorson’s additional albums as a solo performer or leader include Saturn Sings (2010), Bending Bridges (2012), Illusionary Sea (2014), and Meltframe (2015), and she has performed on numerous other recordings as a side musician or co-leader.
Since 2018, Halvorson has served as an instructor at The New School’s College of Performing Arts. She has performed at such national and international venues and festivals.