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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Home » Recent News » Mellon Foundation Increases Funding for National Alliance for Audition Support


Mellon Foundation Increases Funding for National Alliance for Audition Support

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The National Alliance for Audition Support (NAAS)—a partnership between the Sphinx Organization, New World Symphony, and the League of American Orchestras—has been awarded a grant of $1.95 million by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Created in 2018, NAAS is an unprecedented national and field-wide initiative with the long-term goal of increasing diversity in American orchestras. The Mellon Foundation was the primary underwriter of NAAS with a grant of $1.8 million for the first four years. The new grant provides support through 2024. In addition to the Mellon Foundation support, NAAS receives financial contributions from more than 100 orchestra partners.

The customized array of services offered to Black and Latinx artists through NAAS includes facilitating mentor relationships, audition preparation through the New World Symphony, financial support in the form of stipends for audition travel and other professional development expenses, and audition previews that connect orchestras to the talent pool.

To date, NAAS has assisted 299 musicians, resulting in 81 successful auditions and placements. Of these 81 positions, 29 are full-time, 16 temporary, five substitute, and 31 fellowship. Over the next three years, NAAS expects to serve at least 350 underrepresented classical musicians and provide between $600,000 and $750,000 in direct support to artists.

In addition to its core program offerings, NAAS sparked the creation of the NAAS Musician Database, a resource of more than 230 Black and Latinx musicians that aims to connect musicians of color with orchestras and other artistic institutions for engagement opportunities. NAAS has also developed a coalition providing more than 100 orchestras with guidelines and resources to inform their diversity, equity, and inclusion policies—including the development of guidelines for orchestra auditions, hiring, and tenure practices—as well as compiling demographic data on audition applicants. The guidelines were published in January 2021 and have since served as a catalyst for substantive discussions and strategy development at industry meetings and conferences.

Since 2008, the Mellon Foundation has provided Sphinx with more than $6 million in support. In addition to NAAS, it supports the Sphinx Virtuosi ensemble national tours and the annual SphinxConnect.







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