AFM-EPF Tries Again

The American Federation of Musicians and Employers’ Pension Fund (AFM-PEF) continues to scrape along. Back in March 2020 they managed to settle a suit filed against Trustees that alleged poor management and unnecessarily risky investment strategies. Both sides have claimed victory in the suit, and the reality is the AFM-EPF agreed to a $26.85 million settlement. According to, $17 million of that will be paid by the Plan’s fiduciary insurers. …

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Starting 2021 With An Empathetic Perspective

While vaccine rollouts are helping performing arts organizations take a serious look at season planning schedules, furloughed artists and arts admins have yet to see the rays from the light at the end of that tunnel. In order to gather a better understanding of just how deep those economic cracks run, I want to point out two articles of note that came out while I was on holiday break. The 12/26/2020 …

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Crowdsourcing Mask Knowledge

In a perfect world, musicians would have ample time to try a variety of face masks in order to find options that provide maximum safety and comfort. Having said that, things are far from perfect and the cost of buying a few dozen masks is an expense most musicians aren’t in a position to absorb. Consequently, it’s been fascinating watching musicians connect across social media to share experiences. For example, this …

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Why Are Conductors Exempt From Wearing Masks Onstage?

If you’ve been watching any of the early efforts from orchestras experimenting with socially distanced concerts, you’ve probably noticed that on-stage musicians are wearing masks, even wind players when they aren’t actively playing. In the handful of indoor events, audience members are wearing masks as well. So why are some conductors going without masks or walking out wearing a mask, but removing it while conducting? Holly Mulcahy was wondering the same …

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The Difference Between Per-Service and Salary-Based Musicians

Following yesterday’s article that referenced per-service and salary-based musician employment, a number of readers reached out asking about the difference. To that end, I’m certainly guilty of assuming too much from time to time and this is decidedly one of those issues that can be very confusing if you aren’t already familiar with the distinction. What’s A Service? Within the context of professional orchestras, a service typically consists of one rehearsal …

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