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FIM Presidium Visits AFM Office in New York

by Benoît Machuel, International Federation of Musicians General Secretary

With the Presidium of the International Federation of Musicians (FIM)*, I had the privilege of being received by the AFM IEB on Tuesday, March 28, 2023, at the AFM headquarters in New York. Initially scheduled for March 2020, this meeting was postponed to December 2021 due to the pandemic, and then delayed again, for technical reasons. It was preceded on March 27 by a periodic meeting of the FIM Presidium in which AFM President Ray Hair participated as FIM Vice President.

Two recent international meetings involving FIM were discussed with the IEB: the ILO Tripartite Technical Meeting on the Future of Work in the Arts and Entertainment Sector and the 43rd Session of WIPO’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), held in Geneva at the headquarters of these organizations.

Founded in 1919, the ILO is the oldest UN agency and the only one based on tripartite representation: governments, workers, and employers. The conclusions adopted at the February 2023 technical meeting encourage member states to take concrete measures to guarantee access to collective bargaining and social protection for all workers in the sector, whether employed or self-employed. These recommendations also cover working conditions, wages, health, mobility, and intellectual property. FIM is satisfied with these outcomes, obtained at the end of a week of delicate negotiations conducted by a team of representatives from FIM, International Federation of Actors (FIA), and UNI Media and Entertainment (UNI-MEI).

The 43rd session of the SCCR (March 2023) was the occasion of a major mobilization of FIM and its partners, representing collective management organizations at the international level (SCAPR, AEPO-ARTIS, and FILAIE). Our objective was to gather the support of as many member states as possible in favour of fair remuneration of performers in the online environment. To make delegations aware of the problem, we organized a special event consisting of a panel discussion followed by a concert and a cocktail. This event was a remarkable success.

Subsequently, we received strong support from Latin America and Africa at the following plenary session, with the European Union keeping a neutral position. On the other hand, the delegation of the United States expressed reservations about including this question as a standing item on the SCCR agenda, which has the effect of slowing down and impeding further progress on this essential subject. With the help of the AFM, we hope to obtain a softening of the United States’ position for the next committee meeting scheduled in November this year.

These two themes gave rise to exchanges of views and technical comments between representatives of FIM and the IEB, particularly on the question of streaming. The participants assessed the respective merits of collective agreements and a statutory right to remuneration subject to collective management (as in Spain, for example). This second option, currently defended at WIPO by FIM and its partners, has the advantage of being fully compatible with the treaties and the principle “no collection without distribution,” adopted by FIM in 2012 on the AFM’s initiative.

On behalf of FIM, I would like to thank AFM President Ray Hair for his involvement in the work of our organization and the IEB for its attentiveness during our joint meeting on March 28. I also wish to extend our thanks to the AFM staff for their kindness and availability throughout our visit.

*The Presidium: President John Smith, OBE (UK); Vice Presidents: Ray Hair (US), Edith Katiji (Zimbabwe), Anders Laursen (Denmark), Beat Santschi (Switzerland), Horace Trubridge (UK); General Secretary: Benoît Machuel (France)

Pictured above, AFM International Executive Officers and FIM Officers at the New York City office (L-R): Alan Willaert, AFM Vice President from Canada; Ed Malaga, AFM IEB; Terryl Jares, AFM IEB; John Acosta, AFM IEB; Jay Blumenthal, AFM Secretary-Treasurer; Horace Trubridge (UK), FIM Vice President; John Smith OBE (UK), FIM President; Benoît Machuel (France), FIM General Secretary; Ray Hair, AFM President; Tina Morrison, AFM IEB; Dave Pomeroy, AFM IEB; Bruce Fife, AFM Vice President; Edith Katiji (Zimbabwe), FIM Vice President; Beat Santschi (Switzerland), FIM Vice President; Anders Laursen (Denmark), FIM Vice President.

Progress Made on Intellectual Property Rights in Europe

On October 1 and 2, President Hair and I attended the 108th Executive Committee (EC) meeting of the International Federation of Musicians (FIM) in Zurich. President Hair attends as a member of the Presidium (one of the five vice-presidents), and I represented Canada as part of the Executive Committee. Of the 60-plus member countries of FIM, only a few are represented on the EC. Besides Canada, the others are Australia, Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Japan, Norway, Romania, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
One of the most interesting aspects of the meeting was the progress made in terms of intellectual property rights, specifically in Europe. The following is contained within the European Directive:

Article 14 – Principle of fair and proportionate remuneration

  1. Member States shall ensure that authors and performers receive fair and proportionate remuneration for the exploitation of their works and other subject matter, including for their online exploitation.
  2. Paragraph 1 shall not apply where an author or performer grants a non-exclusive usage right for the benefit of all users free of charge.
  3. Member States shall take into account the specificities of each sector in encouraging the proportionate remuneration for rights granted by authors and performers.
  4. Contracts shall specify the remuneration applicable to each mode of exploitation.

So what does that mean? In a nutshell, performers will be able to negotiate a fee and get paid for the use of their music on streaming platforms.
Essentially, an unwaivable right is created for performers to receive an equitable remuneration for all online uses of their recordings, collected from streaming platforms and administered by performers’ Collective Management Organizations (CMO), in addition to their exclusive right of making available on demand. The proposal also introduces a collective bargaining component, allowing unions to bargain the remuneration in order to achieve an equivalent result. So essentially, either national law or collective bargaining can be used to set the conditions.
Further, the recommendations include for payments to be based on “actual value” or “potential value,” and allows for lump-sum payments under certain circumstances. The details and text are too extensive to include here, but suffice to say that the European Union (EU) has made significant progress in intellectual property rights.
As I have pointed out in previous articles, it is the responsibility of each member state to adopt and enact legislation which comports with the directive. However, at the FIM meeting, several members reported on the progress made with the governments in their respective countries, which is an extremely positive sign.
It’s important to understand that this is not applicable in Canada. Currently, performers are stuck with Re:Sound’s Tariff 8, which, unfortunately, still pays only 10% of similar tariffs in other countries, such as the United States or the EU. Perhaps in the future, if and when our recommendations during the Copyright Review are enacted, Canada’s Copyright Board will have a more streamlined methodology to respond to market conditions and trends (such as the convergence of media on the streaming platform), and be able to respond with a more appropriate tariff structure and remuneration levels. Canada’s musicians are counting on it.

international freelance conference

A Report on the International Freelance Conference

At the end of May, the International Federation of Musicians (FIM), a membership organization that includes musician unions from around the world, hosted their first-ever International Freelance Conference. Union representatives in attendance included delegates from Japan, Australia, Israel, the UK, most European nations, India, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Brazil, Argentina, and, of course, the US and Canada. President Hair, who was buried with AFM Convention preparations, assigned me to accompany Vice President from Canada Alan Willaert to represent the AFM at the conference.

The purpose of the conference was to study the experiences of freelance musicians from around the world, to share “best practices,” and to work to find practical ways to forge a path through the challenging environment of the gig economy and securing a more stable workplace. To quote John Smith, FIM president: “We belong to the original gig economy; a term that I believe has been appropriated in order to describe the sector of the modern workforce engaged in precarious, unreliable ways of earning a living. While many musicians have enjoyed successful freelance careers and prefer this type of ‘portfolio’ work to regular work in a band or orchestra, others find the freelance environment unpredictable and inconsistent and require their unions to put in place safeguards for them.”

One of the interesting descriptives for what should/could be a goal to focus on was what was called “flexsecurity.” In other words, is there a way to maintain the flexibility of the freelance world, but with the underpinning of a safety net of some sort, i.e., security? The country that may come closest to having a form of this currently in place is France.

AFM International Vice President Bruce Fife (second from right) speaks during the Organizing Freelance Musicians panel at the International Federation of Musicians International Freelance Conference in Denmark. The other panelists were (from left): Anders Laursen, president, Danish Musician Union; Paul Davies, director, MEAA (Australian Union), and Ahti Vänttinen, president, SML (Finnish Union). Photo: Alan Willaert

There were numerous panels and presenters over the two-day conference. I was part of a panel on “Organizing Freelance Musicians.” It was moderated by Anders Laursen, president of the Danish Musician Union, and included Australian representative Paul Davies and Finnish representative Ahti Vänttinen. I talked about our Fair Trade Music program, its successes and challenges, which, amazingly, is not dissimilar to a program that Davies described. After we were finished, he shared his gratification in learning that they were not alone with this “wild plan” they had created to embrace their challenges, as it bore some resemblance to our Fair Trade Music.

Alan was tapped to sit in—very last minute due to the unavailability of the delegate from Ghana—on a panel focused on “Developing specific trade union services for freelance musicians.” Over lunch, he was able to pull together a long list of services available in both the US and Canada. While the AFM continues to focus and build on the organizing model of unionism, it was clear that in many parts of the world there is still a focus on unions as a “service organization.”

Other issues covered in panels included:

•  Union assistance with contract negotiations and touring abroad (work permits, insurance, etc.).

•  Adapting to change, portfolio careers, transition opportunities, developing new skills.

•  Use of digital technologies for career development.

•  Distributing recordings online.

•  Access to safety, health, and welfare (social security, pension, unemployment, life-long learning).

•  Competition rules and access to basic labor rights including collective bargaining (when referring to “competition” in this context, in other parts of the world, it’s about antitrust or monopoly issues).

The multiple speakers’ presentations covered many of the legal components of our industry, sector policies, trade union policies, and, what was of particular interest to me, the distinctions between independent contractor versus employee worldwide. There are many names for an independent contractor, and very descriptive ones at that. Rental workers, entrepreneurs, casual workers, informal workers (from Brazil, where the street is their main stage), dependent contractors, platform workers, hybrid, sole trader, and, my two favorites, a-typical workers and precarious workers. All those names speak to the insecurity of this type of work.

AFM Vice President from Canada Alan Willaert (far right) was also a panelist at the International Freelance Conference in Denmark. The other panelists were (from left): Beat Santschi, president, Swiss Musicians Union; Horace Trubridge, General Secretary, British Musicians Union; and Jan Granvik, president, Swedish Musicians Union.
Photo: Benoit Machuel

So, what was my take away from the conference? First, as bad as we think we have it, there are certainly other nations that have big issues. For instance, in the African nations that I spoke with, musicians are legally not considered “workers,” so if they sign a contract with a promoter, and the promoter breaks that contract, there is no recourse because of their lack of legal status. In Argentina, there was musician liability for a fire that broke out at a venue, and while all the details are not completely clear to me, they are now spending up to six years in prison. On the positive side, I have great appreciation for the union in Iceland, which serves as the music school as well, so musicians are connected to the union from the first day of lessons through their professional careers. I also appreciated the conversations around the creation of an international agreement for musician scales from around the world.

At the end of the conference, the 100 musicians and union delegates from 30 countries agreed on a “Final Declaration.” With annual revenues of $3.25 trillion, the cultural and creative industries account for 3% of global GDP and employ 30 million people—about 1% of the world’s active population. We are not an insignificant part of the world work force, and the final message of the declaration states: “Governments and employers of musicians should recognize the contribution of these workers to the economy and to society as a whole, including in terms of cultural diversity. They should make sure that competition law does not apply to freelance musicians and that the latter are never forced to declare themselves as small businesses or enterprises and are free to form unions and to bargain collectively.”

Aiding Musician Organizing South of Our Borders

by John Acosta, AFM International Executive Board Member and President of Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA)

I recently had the privilege to represent the AFM at several International Federation of Musicians (FIM) workshops in Latin America. The first, coordinated by FIM and hosted by Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba (UNEAC), was a regional project funded by the Swedish organization Union to Union, with support from Musikerförbundet. Our FIM team consisted of FIM Vice President Déborah Cheyne, FIM General Secretary Benoît Machuel, and FIM Regional Coordinator for Latin America Ananay Aguilar.

FIM Latin American Conference

There were several goals of FIM’s Latin American conference in Cuba. The first was to bring together a number of music organizations on the island and generate a dialogue around various topics affecting professional musicians worldwide. The second was to help develop a musicians’ union in Cuba that would be able to represent Cuban musicians at the regional and international level.

Represented at the event were several important musical organizations, including the Instituto Cubano de la Música (ICM) and the collective management organization for authors and composers Agencia Cubana de Derecho de Autor Musical (ACDAM). Also present was a representative of the cultural workers trade union Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Cultura, along with representatives from the national centre for arts schools Centro Nacional de Escuelas de Arte (CNEART), and other various educational establishments from primary to higher level music education.

FIM Central American Regional Meeting

In addition, I was asked by FIM to join their Central American regional meeting in Guatemala City, Guatemala, held several weeks later. It included representatives of established and/or burgeoning musicians’ unions from Panama, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Colombia. From all of these gatherings it was extremely insightful to see how our Federation can stand as an example to many of these Latin American unions of how an open and democratic union can operate.

While perfection in any democratic institution is elusive, if not unattainable, many of these foreign organizations are extremely challenged by the political instabilities they face in their own countries. For example, in Cuba, where we met with the leadership of UNEAC, an artist association that encompassed writers, singers, dancers, musicians, and other creative trades, the level of musicianship and artistry was incredibly high. However, in stark contrast, the ability of those same artists to be able to speak in defense of their own freedom of speech or find recompense when there was a grievance against their employer (the state) was complicated.

Another example was that of Guatemala. For decades, a somewhat violent history in that country caused by the government’s actions against its own people—with special attention focused on seriously suppressing labor rights—has thwarted any union’s ability to survive, let alone thrive. The results are now evident with the absence of any healthy union organization, and certainly not an established musicians’ union. In these cases, the work that FIM is embarking upon in Latin America and other underdeveloped nations, is critical to the advancement of musicians, musicians’ rights, and continued labor presence.

Representatives at the FIM Regional Meeting in Cuba (L to R, Back Row): FIM General Secretary Benoît Machuel; Guitarist Rey Montesinos; UNEAC Musicians’ section at Villa Clara President Alejandro Sánchez Camps; UNEAC Musicians’ section at Matanzas President Luis A. Llagano Pérez; Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) President and AFM IEB Member John Acosta; ACDAM Director René Hernández Quintero; UNEAC at Matanzas President José Alberto García Alfonso; (Middle Row) Sindicato Nacional de Trabajdores de la Cultura General Secretary Nereyda López; UNEAC Musicians’ section Vice President Juan Piñera; UNEAC Musicians’ section President Guido López Gavilán; UNEAC Musicians’ section Vice President Marta Campos; de la Torre Vocalist Dolores Márquez; FIM Regional Coordinator for Latin America Ananay Aguilar; Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo de la Música Cubana Musicologist Ailer Pérez Gómez; (Seated in front) Bis Music Producer Cary Diez; FIM Vice President and SINDIMUSI Vice President Déborah Cheyne; and Composer Roberto Valera.

Guiding Our Brothers and Sisters Abroad

It is equally important that the AFM be involved now in guiding the process of union development in these nations, especially in the early stages. During our meetings in both countries, we spent a fair amount of time conducting workshops about union administration, building an effective union, and government engagement. There was significant dialogue in our Guatemala meeting about the various union structures found in more industrialized countries like the US, Switzerland, and France, and how these structures operate from the member standpoint to union governance.

The daunting task that these courageous leaders now find before them, is to find the time and resources to create a credible union in a climate with limited economic opportunities. It will indeed require a superhuman effort. I believe our Federation can provide the necessary guidance and training. Working within FIM, I believe these goals can be accomplished. With strong musicians’ unions in our neighbors to the south we can help raise working standards, not only for our colleagues from these nations, but improve the portability of intellectual property rights established in our Federation and export these higher standards to other developing unions.

As employers attempt to pit one musician against another, union against union, and nation against nation, we must organize musician to musician, union to union, and nation to nation, in order for our movement to catch up with an already globalized workplace.

I want to thank AFM President Ray Hair for assigning me to these inaugural meetings. I look forward to our continued participation.

The FIM IOC “Oslo Call”: Orchestras Must Work Together

by Naomi Bensdorf Frisch, ROPA Delegate to FIM IOC and Member of Local 10-208 (Chicago, IL) and Local 166 (Madison, WI)

AFM President Ray Hair gives opening remarks at the 4th FIM IOC in Montreal, Canada.

The fourth International Federation of Musicians (FIM) International Orchestra Conference (IOC) was held May 11-14 in Montreal, Quebec. Musicians and managers from six continents gathered at the Delta Hotel for three days of intense discussions about the challenges faced and successes achieved by orchestras around the world. The AFM brought a strong group of delegates to the conference: President Ray Hair; Vice President from Canada Alan Willaert; Secretary-Treasurer Jay Blumenthal; International Executive Board member and Local 802 (New York City) President Tino Gagliardi; Symphonic Services Director Rochelle Skolnick; Symphonic Electronic Media Director Deborah Newmark; ICSOM Chair Meredith Snow; OCSM President Robert Fraser; and I served as the ROPA representative.

An opening reception honored Air Canada with the FIM Airline of Choice Award for accommodating musicians traveling with their instruments. The next morning opened with a lively speech by AFM President Hair who called for orchestra musicians to receive a share of ad revenue generated from orchestras’ pages and posts on online streaming services. Next, Allison Beck, former Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service director, delivered an inspirational keynote speech. She urged the delegates from all over the world to stay strong in this difficult political climate and keep working together to promote our missions. Recalling how Ford was able to pull out of the recession through good labor relations with the United Auto Workers, Beck reminded us that a good labor-management relationship is a “port in your storm,” and when musicians and managers are able to work together “anything is possible.” 

Over the course of the three-day conference, eight topics were presented in panel discussion format: 1) The Public Value of Orchestras; 2) Business Models of Orchestras; 3) Orchestras Integrating Digital Tools and New Approaches; 4) Responsibility and Accountability: Role of Musicians on Orchestra Boards; 5) Bullying and Harassment; 6) Practical Aspects of Outreach and Education; 7) Recorded Broadcasts and Rights of Musicians; and 8) The Role of Trade Unions in Safeguarding the Future of the Orchestra. Each panel comprised four speakers (each from a different country) and a moderator. Panelists generally discussed what was working or not working in their home countries regarding each of the topics, allowing an opportunity for the delegates to learn from global experiences.

At the FIM IOC AFM Secretary-Treasurer Jay Blumenthal (far right) moderated a panel on The Public Value of Orchestras. Panel members (L to R) were: Katherine Carleton (Canada), Hans Reinhard Biere (Germany), Benedictus Acolatse (Ghana), and Déborah Cheyne (Brazil).

Some panels had widely different views, for instance, the panel on digital tools. One musician spoke about using digital conferencing to provide outreach and education services, another musician spoke about embracing smart phones in the concert hall, and an archivist from the New York Philharmonic shared her experience creating a digital catalogue of the orchestra’s music. I spoke on the panel about the role of musicians on orchestra boards. In the beginning, the four of us seemed to have very different approaches. By the end of the conversation, however, we all agreed that, though communication between the board and musicians is very important, musicians should not hold seats on orchestra boards. Overall, the panel discussions allowed for the presentation of many different perspectives, which, when supplemented by questions and comments from the delegates, painted a picture of how orchestras are surviving in today’s world.

FIM IOC attendees listen to a panel on Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace. On stage (L to R) are: Michael D. Wright (Canada), Simon Webb (United Kingdom), Kaisa Rönkkö (Finland), Thomas Bjelkerud (Sweden), and moderator Rochelle Skolnick, AFM Symphonic Services Division director. During the conference, translation was provided in English, Spanish, and French.

The “Oslo Call,” established at the third FIM IOC in 2015, calls on musicians and managers around the world to become active in their communities and lobby politicians to help the arts to thrive. In Montreal, the fourth FIM IOC took the Oslo Call one step further, urging solidarity among musicians around the world and advocating for transparent, trusting relationships between orchestra managers and musicians. Delegates left the conference with an understanding that they are not alone; that they have colleagues to lean on in times of need. But further, it is apparent that, though we all have our roles to play, orchestras thrive when the union, musicians, managers, and board (or the government, in the case of our subsidized colleagues in Europe) have a healthy working relationship.

We need to work together to make ourselves relevant and valuable in our communities; to run our organizations responsibly and with good stewardship; to stop bullying, harassment, and exploitation of musicians around the world; and to ensure our own bright futures. Thanks to ROPA and to the AFM for allowing me to be a part of such a special event.

Make the Arts a Focal Point in Communities

by Robert Fraser, OCSM President and Member of Local 247 (Victoria, BC)

The International Federation of Musicians (FIM), of which the AFM is a member union, held its fourth triennial International Orchestra Conference (IOC) in Montreal, May 11-14. It was the first time this event was held in North America. I would like to thank all the organizers at FIM headquarters in Paris and the officers and staff of Local 406 (Montreal, PQ) for organizing a wonderful conference. You can find summaries of conference discussions on the FIM IOC website (ioc.fim-musicians.org).

If I had to summarize the conference in a “tweet” it would be: “Orchestras all over the world face the same challenges—some more than others.” Thirty nations were represented. I fully expected the room to be divided into “haves” and “have-nots”—nations that have traditionally shown support for artistic institutions, contrasted with those where symphonic music is seen as a frill, a symbol of a foreign (and not necessarily friendly) culture, or even a threat. Instead, what I observed were remarkable similarities.

Every orchestra struggles with its own mission, defining its place in society. Every orchestra faces the same funding challenges—even those with strong government support. And every orchestra faces the challenges of the new reality in media. In every country, the burden of creating an orchestra’s recorded legacy and media presence is falling away from broadcasters and record companies, and onto the orchestra managements.

The organizers of FIM IOC are to be commended for reaching out to orchestra managements to participate in their conferences. Orchestras Canada held its annual conference during the same week as the Montreal conference and shared a common day with the FIM IOC. I have always believed that management/musician cooperation and collaboration, where appropriate, can only make our organizations stronger.

At the FIM IOC it was a thrill to hear both of OCSM’s Montreal-based orchestras perform in the same week: the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal and the Orchestre Métropolitain. Both performed in the beautiful Maison Symphonique. Sitting in this hall built in 2011, made me think about Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations this year.

Arts Infrastructure in Canada

When Canada turned 100 in 1967 (and a number of provinces celebrated centennials shortly after), there was a lot of investment in performing arts infrastructure in Canada. Do an Internet search for “centennial concert hall” and you’ll see what I mean. Since then, however, not much has changed. Performing arts infrastructure hasn’t always kept up with the growth of our artistic institutions, the ever-increasing demands of population, and ever-changing community policies. Canadian cities that have been fortunate enough to build contemporary concert halls have done so through private-public partnerships, which aren’t always possible in mid and small population centres like Halifax, Nova Scotia; Victoria, British Columbia; or London, Ontario.

Canadian orchestras and our partner organizations in the ballet and opera world have grown immeasurably since 1967, yet many of our organizations are “homeless.” They rent facilities to perform in that, in some cases, were not designed to accommodate a symphony orchestra. They have nowhere to store a library or equipment, and they have no base of operations to engage in the ever-increasing activities that are expected of modern orchestras (supporting artists in nonsymphonic genres of music, making use of multimedia enhancements, or recording).

Aside from a much-needed new home for the Stratford Festival in Ontario, and a renovation at Southam Hall at the National Arts Centre, there is nothing on the radar in this sesquicentennial year—but it’s not too late. Let’s see what we can do to make the arts a focal point of our communities.

As always, I look forward to the round of player conferences this summer—ROPA, TMA, OCSM, and ICSOM. I hope to see many of you there. Have a great summer.

International Orchestra Conference

International Orchestra Conference Welcome to Montreal

AFM President Ray Hair addresses the 3rd International Federation of Musicians (FIM)International Orchestra Conference (IOC) in Oslo, Norway in 2014.

In May, Montreal will welcome the 4th International Orchestra Conference (IOC), hosted by the International Federation of Musicians (FIM) and co-organized by Québec Musicians’ Guild, AFM Local 406 (Montreal, PQ). The IOC 2017 will have a prestigious official ambassador: maestro Yannick Nézet-Séguin, recently named music director of the Metropolitan Opera, music director of The Philadelphia Orchestra and Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, and artistic director and principal conductor of Montreal’s Orchestre Métropolitain.

Famous for its creativity and vibrant art scene, Montreal will be the first North American city to host the conference. Previously, the event was held in Berlin (2008), Amsterdam (2011), and Oslo (2014). In Oslo, 240 delegates from about 40 countries were reunited to network, debate, and discuss the major issues and unprecedented challenges faced by orchestras around the world in the 21st century.

For 2017, the programme of the conference will include the following topics: public value of orchestras, business models of orchestras; digital tools, and new approaches; responsibility and accountability: the role of musicians on orchestra boards; respective roles of trade unions and management regarding bullying and harassment; recorded broadcasts and the rights of musicians; and the role of trade unions in safeguarding the orchestra. At the end of the conference, the delegates will adopt a final declaration. A concert of the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal at the Maison Symphonique, a beautiful concert hall inaugurated in 2011, is also part of the programme.

Home of NHL’s famous hockey team, the Canadiens, and Cirque du Soleil, Montreal is also the city where Leonard Cohen, Rufus Wainwright, and Céline Dion grew up. The second most populous city in Canada, the bilingual and multicultural metropolis is the perfect mix between North American modernism and European heritage, brought by the French and the British, and reflected in its architecture and its unique “joie de vivre.”

The city, which celebrates its 375th anniversary in 2017, is well known for its friendly atmosphere, its lively nightlife, its delicious bagels, and its iconic Olympic stadium, among many other things. Montreal also has a rich music scene, with many classical ensembles and major symphony orchestras, the internationally acclaimed Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, conducted by Maestro Kent Nagano, and Orchestre Métropolitain, conducted by Maestro Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

The conference will take place May 11-14 at the Delta Hotel located downtown. It is an opportunity not to be missed. For more information, please visit the website: www.ioc.fim-musicians.org.

Welcome to Montreal!