Player Conferences Take Care of Business

Volume CVI, No. 10October, 2006

by Leonard Leibowitz

Musician delegates from most of the nations’ major symphony, opera and ballet orchestras convened in Nashville for the annual meeting of the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM) during the week of Aug. 14.

The delegates were joined and addressed by officers of the AFM as well as representatives of sister organizations such as the Regional Orchestra Players Association, representing over 70 U.S. regional orchestras; the Canadian Conference of Symphony Musicians; and the Recording Musicians Association.

The attendees were treated with a tour of the almost-completed Schermerhorn Symphony Center, the country’s newest and most technologically advanced concert hall, and the new home of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra.

During the week, workshop topics included:

  • A primer on bankruptcy law, by attorney Trish Polach of Bredhof and Kaiser;
  • Negotiation preparation and effective use of power, by Nathan Kahn, a negotiator for the AFM’s Symphonic Services Division;
  • The potential impact of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act on ICSOM orchestra boards, by Polach and myself;
  • Public relations, by Barbara Haig of Milwaukee;
  • A role-playing exercise in the arbitrator’s rules of contract interpretation, conducted by myself and my wife, labor arbitrator Peg Leibowitz;
  • A report from Bill Foster, chair of the ICSOM Media Committee, on the details of the new self-produced recording agreement recently reached between the AFM and the managements of almost 50 orchestras.

In addition, there was a changing of the guard. Bruce Ridge, a bassist in the North Carolina Symphony, was elected chair by acclamation, and Brian Rood, a trumpeter in the Kansas City Symphony was elected president.

Both Laura Ross, secretary, and Michael Moore, treasurer, were likewise re-elected by acclamation.

A new addition to the governing board was Paul Gunter, librarian of the Minnesota Orchestra, who was elected as a member at large.

Jan Gippo, the retiring chair, was given a standing ovation and kudos for his work over the past four years.

A number of resolutions were passed by the delegates, including one which congratulated Local 802 and President David Lennon for their ongoing fight against the use and proliferation of the virtual orchestra machine. (The resolution was printed in last month’s Allegro.)

Next year’s conference will be held in Minneapolis.

Leonard Leibowitz is counsel for Local 802, ICSOM and the AFM’s Symphonic Services Division.

by Tino Gagliardi

On Aug. 14, I had the pleasure of accompanying President Lennon to the 11th annual international conference of the Theatre Musicians’ Association (TMA) as a representative of the Broadway Theatre Committee. This year’s conference was held in Cambridge, Mass. and was chaired by Vicky Smolik, president of the TMA.

AFM President Tom Lee and Boston Musicians’ Association President Barbara Owens made opening remarks that included the introduction of Patrick Glynn, the recently appointed AFM Touring Division Director. Lee discussed the newly ratified Pamphlet B touring agreement with the aid of AFM legal counsel George Cohen. There was much discourse on the topic of the new tiered system in that agreement and the continued use of alternate touring agreements in order to organize all shows that tour and the effect of these types of tours on local musicians.

The virtual orchestra machine still remained the primary focus of all who attended. President Lennon reported on the various advancements and victories we at Local 802 have achieved in the war against the machine. It is fair to say that all the delegates were anxious to hear how this campaign is going in New York City and what can and should be done on the national level. There was much concern expressed by several of the delegates that in spite of the resolution passed at the last AFM convention in opposition to the V.O. machine and the proliferation of this type of technology, there has not been a unified national campaign.

I had the opportunity to speak at length on the current status of Broadway and the types of preparations being made by the Broadway Theatre Committee for the upcoming 2007 negotiations with the League. The Broadway Community Initiative was the centerpiece of an in-depth discussion on the importance of education and training opportunities for our members to help better understand the difficulties of the negotiation process such as the contentious Pamphlet B talks, as well as the ability to better understand the various agreements we work under.

In conclusion, it was heartening for me to experience the fellowship of my colleagues and the common interests that bring us together. It is clearly a priority that we all work together on a national level to help promote and preserve the standard and quality of live performance regardless of the city we hail from.

Tino Gagliardi is co-chair of the Broadway Theatre Committee and an elected member of the Local 802 Executive Board.