Happy summer to all! As Allegro went to press, I had just returned from a conference of the International Federation of Musicians. This organization is a coalition of all musicians’ unions in the world, including the AFM. There were various reports from other unions, both from developing nations as well as from the European Union. It was also an opportunity for us to learn more about the foreign collectives that distribute money to musicians when their music is broadcast over terrestrial (AM/FM) radio. We are still lobbying Congress to get performance rights for musicians in this country but the good news is that some nations have begun to distribute money on behalf of U.S. musicians. I will have more to report on this and other global interests in our next issue.
I recently had an important meeting with Tony P. DiNapoli, the controller of the state of New York, along with Jim Claffey, the president of IATSE Local 1 (who organized the meeting). We discussed the situation at the Met and the strong likelihood of a labor lockout. It was an opportunity to give Mr. DiNapoli notice that this will have far-reaching effects statewide. With 16 unions at the Met, there could be hundreds and maybe even thousands of workers on the street. My outreach to city and state government will continue and I expect to be meeting with Mayor de Blasio very soon. For more information, please visit the MET musicians’ web site at www.MetOrchestraMusicians.org.
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
- Our cover story is about the organization Inside Broadway and the wonderful work they do to share the magic of live music with the next generation of audience members.
- We are also pleased to present an interview with trumpeter Marvin Stamm, who just celebrated a milestone birthday.
- See John O’Connor’s story on a minimum wage for musicians, which is a very interesting strategy to consider.
- Lynne Bond and Bettina Covo have contributed a report on the innovative music education program from Venezuela called “El Sistema” and how it’s being adapted here in NYC.
- We are happy to introduce the new administrator of the Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund, Kim Roberts Hedgpeth. New members of Local 802 who aren’t familiar with how this fund works should read this article – you could have money waiting for you!
- Harvey Mars has an important article on that lets musicians know their rights and benefits if they are on strike or are locked out. This could be very relevant to the Met musicians if the situation comes down to a labor action.
- The NYC Ballet celebrates its 50 years at Lincoln Center. Read musicians’ reminiscences here.
LOCAL 802 RADIO STATION
Over the past few weeks, we’ve begun our testing of Local 802’s new internet radio station. There are still some tweaks to make before we open the site to the public. The Executive Board members who are organizing this station would welcome the help of any Local 802 musicians who have an interest or background in internet radio or Webcasting. Contact Clint Sharman at Clint@TromboneMan.com or Pat Dougherty at email@example.com.
- Big news: we have finally won an agreement covering all shows of the New York Musical Theatre Festival! The festival signed on to our Showcase agreement. We’ll give you more news about the new musical theatre festival circuit when we review our annual meet-and-greet in the fall.
- The Executive Board has confirmed new wage increases for our opera and ballet scale. This year’s increase is 1.5 percent, which went into effect on April 1. Another 1.5 percent increase will occur on April 1, 2015.
- I recently participated with the AFM in another round of negotiations over the Integrated Media Agreement for symphonic, opera and ballet orchestras. I reported last month on how this contract works and what issues we are having with the negotiations. So far the talks have been arduous and little progress has been achieved. We are still far apart but I am hopeful that we will inch toward an agreement that is equitable for the musicians.
- I am happy to report that the AFM has reached an agreement with advertisers for a successor contract. The new “Jingles and Spot Announcements” agreement will run three years and provides for an upfront six percent increase in wages applicable for recording sessions and reuse payments. The contract also provides needed improvements to health and welfare payments, cartage payments, sideline services, Internet wages, and pension contributions. In addition, the parties reached agreement on the addition of innovative provisions such as a waiver for certain types of Internet productions, and a new structural feature which permits advertisers to pay an upfront fee for a 52-week initial soundtrack use and re-use cycles covering all media. I would like to thank Steve Danenberg and John Painting in our Electronic Media Department for all the hard work in helping us prepare for these negotiations.
- We have reached renewal contracts with ASO, Stamford, ABT, the Martina Arroyo Foundation, the Children’s Orchestra Society and the Irish Repertoire Theatre.
- The AFM has also concluded negotiations with Microsoft on a new video game agreement.
David Nadien, 88, the former concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic, died on May 28. He had been a Local 802 member since 1943. His incredible career will be remembered in the next issue of Allegro. We send our deepest sympathy and condolences to his wife Margot.
Local 802 also mourns the death of Seth Popper, who served as the director of labor relations for the Broadway League. Mr. Popper died on May 26 at the young age of 47. Seth understood the value of good labor relations and though we were often adversaries across the table, he always made a point to cultivate a strong relationship with Local 802. My hope is that Seth’s successor shares his values.
Other tributes to deceased members can be found here.
WAGNER WITHOUT LIVE MUSIC?
The Hartford Wagner Festival is currently attempting to produce a Wagner festival without live musicians! Yes – the infamous “virtual orchestra machine” is back. Any use of virtual orchestras is despicable to audiences, but how can a producer even imagine using a computer to replace the majesty of Wagner’s music? Please let the producers know how you feel about this serious degradation of the art of opera. Visit Local 802’s Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/Local802AFM, scroll down, and look for our link to the Hartford Wagner Festival. As Allegro goes to press, I have just been notified that the festival is postponing the production until next year. The festival producers claim that the “vicious and coordinated attacks by the AFM” caused the resignation of the musical director and two singers. Our hats are off to them! Let’s defend this revered art form and let’s not let the Hartford Wagner Festival try again next year.
CONGRATS TO TONY WINNERS
Congratulations to all Local 802 musicians who play in musical theatre and all winners of this year’s Tony awards! Special congratulations to the musicians of “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder,” which won best musical and “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” which won best revival. Also kudos to Local 802 member and composer Jason Robert Brown, who won best original score and best orchestrations for “The Bridges of Madison County.”
The Broadway League has released its annual report on how Broadway contributes to New York City’s economy. This report measures the full economic impact of spending by Broadway production companies, theatre operators and those visitors drawn to NYC by Broadway. As the official source for statistical information about Broadway theatre productions in the United States, the League’s report demonstrates that Broadway not only offers entertainment, art and culture, but that it is an industry whose financial contributions nourish the economy of its city and state.
The report states that during the 2012-2013 season, Broadway as an industry contributed $11.9 billion to the economy of New York City. This amount represents direct spending in three areas: spending by producers to mount and run shows; spending by theatre owners to maintain and renovate venues; and ancillary purchases by Broadway tourists. The money that was directly spent in these areas was then re-spent in multiple subsequent rounds.
The subsequent rounds make the original spending exponentially more valuable. In total, the full contribution of Broadway tourists amounted to $9.6 billion; shows contributed $2.2 billion; and theatres $17 million, for a total of $11.9 billion to NYC’s economy. Broadway supports 87,000 jobs and generates $500 million in taxes to NYC.
Separately, the Broadway League has released end-of-season statistics for the 2013-2014 season. Broadway shows yielded $1.27 billion in grosses, and total attendances reached $12.21 million. All new and continuing productions ran a total of 1,496 playing weeks. The season concluded with grosses up 11.4 percent, attendance up 5.6 percent, and playing weeks up 4.6 percent. Furthermore, this year saw both the highest grossing and best attended Memorial Day week in recorded history.
The information and language above was edited from press releases issued by the League.
CHANGING OF THE GUARD
My assistant K.C. Boyle has left Local 802 for a change in career path. K.C. was a valuable member of our administration, who served as the union’s political and public relations director. We wish him the best. I have appointed Lynne Bond as my new assistant. Lynne is also the union’s director of Lincoln Center and theatre activities. I introduced Lynne a year ago, in my July/August 2013 column.
Have a great summer and I’ll see you again in these pages in September.