Canned music has reared its ugly ahead again at
Lincoln Center. In mid-October, we passed out leaflets in front of the Koch
Theatre to inform the audience attending the traveling ballet revue “Stars
of the 21st Century” that they are paying top dollar to see these
international ballet performers dance to a recording, not a live orchestra.
The world-class New York City Ballet Orchestra
could have accompanied the dancers. Instead, audience members – who paid up to
$125 per ticket – were deprived of the joy of listening to live music.
“Stars” was only in town for one night,
but increasingly, Lincoln Center has allowed canned music to be used as
accompaniment for longer artist engagements and residencies. In March, as
readers remember, Lincoln Center allowed the Paul Taylor Dance Company to dance
to canned music instead of live music performed by professional musicians. That
was for an entire three-week residency.
Outraged by this dangerous precedent, which
jeopardizes the aesthetic integrity of a treasured institution important to New
York City’s cultural and tourism economy, we submitted a letter addressing the
issue to Lincoln Center Board Chair Katherine Farley, President Reynold Levy,
and the entire board of directors of Lincoln Center.
The letter, signed by Rep. Jerry Nadler, State
Senator Tom Duane, Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, NYC Public Advocate Bill de
Blasio, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and New York City Council
Member Gale Brewer, called on members of the board to make “a commitment to
mandate the use of live music for major performances in residence at Lincoln
I firmly believe it is in the collective interest
of everyone involved – the board of directors, producers, performers and
musicians – to ensure that we consistently offer the highest quality
performance possible to our loyal and discerning audiences at Lincoln Center.
There are two elections to write about in this
issue. One is the U.S. presidential election. As we went to press, the election
is a few days away. Whoever wins and whoever you vote for, we can all agree that
improving the economy and protecting the arts are the number one concern for our
members. That’s what we fight for and that’s what we’ll continue to fight
for here at Local 802.
The other elections to mention are the Local 802
officer elections. At this time, I can report to you that these elections –
which had been scheduled for Dec. 4 – will not be held. The reason for this is
that there were no opposing candidates in any race. The Executive Board, after
reviewing the relevant labor law, has unanimously adopted a policy that deems
duly nominated candidates to be elected in the absence of any opposing
candidates, thereby relieving the union of the need to hold ballot elections.
With candidates running unopposed, there is literally nothing to vote on.
To me, the absence of an electoral opposition is an
indication that the trying times of the past may be behind us. The last time
this situation occurred was in 1990, during the Glasel administration.
On behalf of the current administration, I can say
the we are grateful for the opportunity to continue to work for the betterment
of the professional musicians of Local 802 and the confidence you have shown in
the direction our union is going in.
In this issue are candidate statements from each of
our newly elected officers. These are the musicians who represent you. I
encourage you to check out their backgrounds. Thank you again for your faith in
and support of our efforts to fight for the rights of all musicians.
REPORT FROM ARGENTINA
I recently came back from Argentina, where I was
present at the annual conference of the International Federation of Musicians (FIM).
There, we discussed many matters of importance for musicians, including the
crucial topic of “no collection without distribution.”
I reported this in my September column, but it
In the U.S., when a radio station plays a recording
of a song, only the songwriter and publisher get a royalty, not the session
musicians. In Europe and elsewhere, many countries have laws that require that
session musicians receive performance royalties as well. So, in those countries,
when a song is heard on the air, the foreign equivalents of ASCAP and BMI
collect royalties from radio stations and pay the musicians.
Because the United States has yet to adopt a
performance rights act, many foreign collectives believe that they are not
required to forward those payments to the U.S. In other words, they collect the
money, but they don’t send it to the musicians. That’s unfair.
But musicians are finally demanding change. The new
Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances made the moral and legal point that
musicians’ performances cannot be exploited without compensation.
In Argentina, the AFM submitted a resolution to
have FIM adopt the policy of no collection without distribution. I am happy to
report that after much discussion, the resolution submitted by the AFM was
unanimously passed by the FIM Congress.
have seen advertisements for something called “Spigelworld” in Times
Square. This production is a kind of “adult circus” that features
cabaret acts and other carnival entertainment. The production uses live music
– which is good – but until recently, it did not have an agreement with
Local 802. I’m pleased to report that we have won union recognition with the
producers and that the next time Spigelworld sets up camp in Midtown, there will
be an agreement in place which will provide musicians with new protections and
producers of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” have agreed to terms for
the new run at Madison Square Garden Theatre. There were slight adjustments that
needed to be made to accommodate the production at such a large venue, but I’m
happy to report that the basic economic terms of the previous agreement were
has recently concluded negotiations for the national TV/Videotape contract,
which covers bands like the “Saturday Night Live” orchestra, the
“Dancing with the Stars” orchestra, and the David Letterman, Jay Leno
and Jimmy Kimmel house bands, plus their guest artists. The AFM had sent out a
press release reminding the public that it had been seven years since ABC, CBS,
and NBC have agreed to wage and health care increases for these musicians.
“Instead of appreciation for what we do, we were met with demands for
unjustified concessions that have angered the musicians,” said AFM
International President Ray Hair, in the press release. Hair added, “Actors
and stagehands get raises every year, but musicians are left out in the
cold.” Although these negotiations were very difficult, there will be a
much-needed increase in wages with a market adjustment in the first year.
Details of this agreement will be forthcoming from the AFM in the coming weeks.
The AFM is
also gearing up to negotiate the Motion Picture contract, which covers musicians
who play on film scores. The New York chapter of the RMA is seeking input from
New York City musicians about what you’d like to see in these negotiations.
Please e-mail your comments and suggestions to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
organizing efforts on Off Broadway continue all the time. We recently achieved
agreements with the producers of the shows “One For My Baby” and
“Avenue Q” and the workshop for “Flashdance.” As usual,
anytime you are called to play for musical theatre – even if it’s only a
workshop or reading – contact Theatre Rep Claudia Copeland at (212) 245-4802,
ext. 158. We can help you secure the wages and benefits you deserve.
The Local 802 financial reports for the period Jan.
1, 2012 to June 30, 2012 are printed on page 38 of the printed issue. I am pleased to
report that we are maintaining our fiscal stability. The union reported a gain
of $233,749 in this period, and we are significantly ahead of our budget. For
more details, see Financial Vice President Tom Olcott’s column, and
Controller Cathy Camiolo’s column.
Long live Broadway musicians! The Broadway League
and the Coalition of Broadway Unions and Guilds recently honored more than 250
musicians – and many other Broadway artists – who have served on Broadway
for at least 25 years. Of these honorees, 19 musicians have served on Broadway
for 50 years or more! They are: Larry Abel; John Beal; Jay Berliner; Sande
Campbell; John Campo; Francisco Donaruma; Paul Faulise; John Frosk; David Gale;
Jack Gale; Robert Grillo; John Monaco; Frank Perowsky; Red Press; Sid Ramin;
Alvin E. Rogers; Charles L. Scott III; Jonathan Tunick; and Robert Zottola. For
more information, see www.BroadwaySalutes.com.
NEW WEB SITE
Local 802 recently redesigned its Web site. As part of the site, you’ll be
able to view what union contracts you’ve played under and much more. Be sure
to click MEMBER PORTAL LOGIN from the main screen to explore all of our new
features. (If you registered on the old site, you will have to re-register on
the new one if you haven’t already.)
ALLEGRO WINS AWARDS
Local 802’s journal Allegro recently won first
prize for general excellence in the annual journalism contest of the
International Labor Communications Association. The ILCA is an umbrella group
that represents labor magazines and journals throughout North America.
Earlier this year, Allegro also won first prize for
general excellence in its circulation category from the Metropolitan Labor
Communications Association, the local affiliate of the ILCA.
We’re proud of our magazine and of the many staff and members who
contribute. Congratulations to us all.