AFM Convention in Las Vegas
The AFM will hold its 100th convention June 20–23, at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. Among more than 250 delegates will be many who are active and emeritus members of ICSOM orchestras; included in roughly 160 AFM Locals sending delegates will be the 42 Locals that have one or more ICSOM orchestras.
The triennial convention will see the election of Federation officers, as well as deliberation of proposed changes to AFM Bylaws and other business. Note: the proposed Recommendations and Resolutions can be found in the May issue of the International Musician on pages 21-27. The ICSOM Governing Board encourages you to read the proposed AFM bylaws changes, and to share your opinions with your Local officers and your Local’s delegates to the convention in Las Vegas.
Nashville Reopens With Raises
Following four straight days of negotiations in mid-April that resulted in a settlement three months early, simultaneous ratification meetings were held at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center on April 27, 2016. Nashville Symphony musicians met with negotiating committee members, Local 257 President Dave Pomeroy, and attorney Kevin Case to discuss and ratify terms of a wage reopener stipulated in the 4-year agreement negotiated in 2014, while Nashville Symphony Association board members were meeting elsewhere in the building to ratify the agreement.
Wages will increase during the final two years of the contract, with a 4.5% raise in the 2016-17 season and two additional increases totaling 5.3% in the 2017-18 season. The contract also restores one second violin position beginning in the 2017-18 season that was allowed to remain vacant during the previous contract; two positions in the first violin and cello sections will continue to remain vacant during the term of the current agreement.
The orchestra’s schedule has increased over the past few seasons; ticket sales have increased and, according to board chair James C. Seabury III, “the institution has made tremendous strides in restoring the Nashville Symphony to fiscal vitality.” He recognized the cooperation of the orchestra musicians “who have made enormous sacrifices on behalf of the entire institution.”
Nashville Symphony musicians are grateful for the support of the middle-Tennessee community and of the appreciative audiences of all ages that attend every performance.
Musician on Money
The Treasury Department in April announced the planned redesign of the $5, $10, and $20 bills. The back of the $5 will be renovated to acknowledge important events that took place at the Lincoln Memorial. In particular, the opera singer Marian Anderson and her famous concert will be featured.
By 1939, Anderson had achieved great success as a singer—Jean Sibelius heard her sing and dedicated “Solitude” to her, and Arturo Toscanini declared, “Yours is a voice such as one hears once in a hundred years.” After she was denied an opportunity to sing at DAR Constitution Hall because of her race, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt helped organize a free open-air concert for Anderson at the steps of the memorial on Easter Sunday, April 9. The concert was attended by 75,000 and heard by millions more on the radio, and some have credited it with helping to launch the modern civil rights movement.
Anderson was also present at the other event to be commemorated on the new bill, the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, during which Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
While culturally important figures, including musicians, have been featured on paper currency in Europe for years, Anderson will be the first musician on United States money, in addition to being one of the first African Americans and one of the first women so honored. Although Alexander Hamilton had been reported to be facing eviction from the face of the $10 bill, he will remain; the public support generated by the runaway success of the Broadway musical Hamilton was widely reported to be the primary cause of the change of plans.
Chicago Benefit Concert
The musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra are presenting a benefit concert for the Greater Chicago Food Depository on Monday, June 13th, in the Studebaker Theater in Chicago. This is the first time a concert of the full orchestra has been entirely produced and presented by the musicians. “CSO musicians have been committed to community service for many years, and many of the players donate their talents individually to a number of organizations. Presenting this concert as a full orchestra in support of an important cause connects the Musicians of the Chicago Symphony to the Chicagoland community,” said CSO Members Committee Chairman Steve Lester.
CSO Music Director Riccardo Muti will also be donating his services to conduct this concert. He shares the musicians’ commitment to helping those in need, saying “I am very happy to be conducting the first concert of the Chicago Symphony Musicians to benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository, whose effort to end hunger is so important to our City. As musicians, we strive to provide cultural nourishment and so this joint effort is a reflection of our collective desire to feed the body and soul.”
The Greater Chicago Food Depository began its work in 1979 and has served one of every six Cook county residents. Currently it provides approximately 155,000 meals each day, and the proceeds from this concert will help to extend its reach even further.
A Long-Awaited Return
On April 29, 2016, the Utah Symphony performed in Carnegie Hall for the first time in over 40 years. The performance at Carnegie was the culmination of two years of events celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Utah Symphony, including the commissioning and recording of three new works, a new recording of Mahler’s First Symphony, and a complete Mahler Symphony cycle.
The Carnegie program included: Haydn Symphony #96, nicknamed “The Miracle”; Percussionist Colin Currie performing the NY premiere of Andrew Norman’s Percussion Concerto “Switch”, which was commissioned for the 75th Anniversary; selections from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet; and Bartok’s Miraculous Mandarin Suite.
For some musicians the experience was filled with memories of playing in the renowned hall with longtime Music Director Maurice Abravanel; for others it was the first time performing at Carnegie. The performance received substantial media coverage, including two articles and a positive review of the concert in the New York Times.
In addition to the performance at Carnegie Hall, a group of musicians, Madeline Atkins, Peter Margulies, Gary Ofenloch, and Louise Vickerman, were invited to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange with Utah Governor Gary and First Lady Herbert, Acting CEO Pat Richards, Utah Symphony Board Chair David Peterson, and Board members Spence and Lisa Eccles, Scott Anderson, and Kem Gardner.