President's report

Volume 123, No. 7July, 2023

Tino Gagliardi

This is my final president’s report to you as Local 802 president. As many of you have undoubtedly heard, I was elected as the new president of the American Federation of Musicians, our parent union. I am profoundly proud of the trust that the membership has placed in me, but I also feel bittersweet to be leaving the presidency of Local 802, which I held from 2010 to 2018, and again beginning in 2022.

As I begin a new chapter of my service to my fellow musicians, I think back on my roots as a working musician and a rank-and-file union member. For many years, I worked as a trumpet player in New York City’s concert, club date and recording fields as well as on Broadway. My extensive theatre work led to my membership on the Broadway Theatre Committee, where I was elected to its 2003 contract negotiating team, and became its co-chair in 2004 and its chair in 2007. My advocacy for theatre musicians led to me being one of the authors of the Local 802 Commercial Off Broadway Area Standards contract language. As an Executive Board member, starting in 2003, I served on several committees, including Public Relations, Anne Walker Scholarship Fund, Emergency Relief Fund, and Financial Oversight. I completed the Cornell University School for Industrial and Labor Relations certificate program and was actively involved in contract negotiations for Off Broadway and with companies of the League of Resident Theatres. As a member of the New York chapter of the Recording Musicians Association, I participated in the AFM Motion Picture negotiations and helped author language for a new schedule of Local 802’s Limited Pressing Recording Agreement. This language established improved working conditions for musicians who record Off Broadway cast albums by integrating key standards of the AFM Sound Recording Labor Agreement into the LPA.

As the new president of the AFM, I am committed to empowering all of our members across the U.S. and Canada. Rest assured that rank-and-file musicians will always have a voice in our administration and negotiations. I pledge to keep you informed, and I will always respect your input in union affairs. You’ll be able to reach me through the AFM at or through the AFM Web site at

I was already sworn in as AFM president on June 29, and my term begins Aug. 1. At that point, I will resign as Local 802 president. The Local 802 Executive Board has unanimously appointed Sara Cutler as my successor to fill out the remainder of my term as Local 802 president through Dec. 31, 2024. The next elections at Local 802 will take place in December 2024 for the term beginning Jan. 1, 2025.


One of the final accomplishments of my administration at Local 802 was negotiating a settlement for “Here Lies Love.” As you know, for months, producers had threatened to not hire a live orchestra, which would have made “Here Lies Love” the first Broadway League-produced musical to rely almost entirely on a pre-recorded soundtrack. This would have been unprecedented in the 157-year history of live music on Broadway.

According to our contract, any show at the Broadway Theatre is required to hire 19 musicians. However, through our negotiations, we learned that producers had ripped out 661 seats to create a dance floor, leaving only 1,100 seats remaining in the house. Ultimately, the union agreed that the venue’s capacity had been substantially altered enough to warrant a consideration.

We examined similar theatres with 1,100 seats and found a comparable minimum number of live musicians as per our contract would be between 6 and 9.

The final number that we settled with the show is 12 musicians. This includes: 1 conductor, 1 associate conductor, 7 side musicians and 3 actor-musicians.

With this settlement, the producers have dropped their request for Special Situation status. The show will now move forward; previews started on June 17 and the show opens July 20.

We saw an incredible outpouring of support to save live music on Broadway; over 15,000 people signed our public petition. This victory shows us the power of collective action we can achieve as musicians when we band together in solidarity in conjunction with audiences who care deeply about live culture and art.

We will continue to safeguard the incredible sound of live musicians, which is what the public deserves and what makes NYC the cultural capital of the world. Our eyes are on Broadway. Producers who try to eliminate live music on future shows should look to this as an example of how crucial saving live music on Broadway is to both audiences and Local 802.

Lastly, this settlement is a one-time consideration and will not set a precedent. The situation at “Here Lies Love” is unlikely to reoccur due to the extremely unusual step that the producers made of ripping out 661 seats from the theatre.

Thank you for all of your efforts in helping musicians win this positive resolution. Together, we achieved this victory for live music on Broadway.


Congratulations to all of the 2023 Tony winners, including Local 802 members Charlie Rosen and Bryan Carter who won for best orchestrations on “Some Like it Hot” and ALL of the Local 802 musicians who play on Kimberly Akimbo on Broadway (best new musical) and Parade on Broadway (best revival of a musical)…plus all of our union members who played live at the ceremony and everyone who makes the magic happen on Broadway! Read the full list of Tony winners here:


Local 802 member Joe Wilder (1922-2014) will posthumously receive the United States Congressional Gold Medal, recognizing his service as a Montford Point Marine and his personal sacrifice on behalf of our nation during World War II.  See story in this issue of Allegro.

Wilder served in the Marines for three years, from 1943 to 1946. The Congressional Gold Medal is an award bestowed by the United States Congress and is the highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions by individuals and institutions. The Montford Point Marines were the first Black Americans to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps after President Franklin Roosevelt issued an Executive Order 8802 establishing the Fair Employment Practices Commission in June 1941. The recruits trained at Montford Point Camp near Jacksonville, North Carolina. On February 19, 1945 (D-Day), Black Marines of the 8th Ammunition Company and the 36th Depot Company landed on the island of Iwo Jima. The largest number of Black Marines to serve in combat during World War II took part in the seizure of Okinawa, with approximately 2,000 seeing action. Some of the Marines also participated in amphibious landings on Peleliu and Saipan. More than 19,000 Black men served in the Marine Corps during World War II, with approximately 13,000 of them serving in units overseas. Joe Wilder was a virtuoso landmark trumpeter, with a career spanning more than five decades. Joe performed as lead trumpet and soloist with Lionel Hampton, Jimmy Lunceford, Cole Porter, Dizzie Gillespie and Count Basie. He triumphed as a pioneer who broke down racial barriers as one of the first African-Americans to not only integrate Broadway show bands but also to hold a principal chair in a Broadway show orchestra and to join a network studio orchestra (ABC-TV, New York City). Joe was a founding member of and principal trumpet with the Symphony of the New World, the first racially integrated orchestra in the United States. He also worked, in concert and in the studio, with many singers including Billie Holiday, Cab Calloway, Lena Horne, Dinah Washington, Marilyn Monroe and Harry Belafonte and he played in the orchestra on Louis Armstrong’s 1967 iconic recording “What a Wonderful World”. The United States Congressional Gold Medal will be presented to the Wilder family during a ceremony at the historic Schomburg Center on July 17, 2023.