Recent controversy (March 2009) involving the Phoenix Symphony, its Music Director, Michael Christie and several of its musicians have gained attention in the orchestral music world. Mr. Christie’s attempt to fire or demote several players has been met with legal challenges and lawsuits alleging age discrimination. Polyphonic Senior Editor Robert Levine uses the Phoenix mess to reflect on age, gender and race discrimination in orchestras.Read More
To IBB or Not To IBB
Interest-based bargaining (IBB), non-confrontational negotiating, mutual-gains bargaining, win-win bargaining – no matter what you call it, symphony musicians disagree vehemently about whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing.
Robert Levine has written a thoughtful essay that explores this disagreement about IBB. Robert presents a brief history of the evolution of symphony players’ negotiating their own contracts, and then goes on to discuss the pros and cons of adopting non-traditional bargaining techniques.
Whether you believe that IBB can encourage more creative solutions, or believe that IBB results in bad outcomes for musicians, you’ll find this essay provocative yet balanced. To continue this discussion, the Orchestra Musicians’ Forum has selected Robert’s essay as the subject of our first Virtual Panel Discussion, moderated by Drew McManus and beginning on April 17th.
To IBB or Not To IBB first appeared in the July/August 2005 issue of Symphony, the magazine of the American Symphony Orchestra League. Used by permission.Read More
Are you confused about Orchestra Committees, Locals, Player Conferences, CBAs, AFM, ASOL, SOI, etc., etc.? The orchestra world often begins to seem like alphabet soup. But here’s a quick and easy way to sort your way through the basics of contracts, labor law and unions, and find out just exactly how your orchestra is run.
Robert Levine, Principal Violist in the Milwaukee Symphony, former Chair of ICSOM, and President of AFM Local 8 in Milwaukee, has written an article in question & answer format that walks you through all these issues. From defining collective bargaining to discussing why orchestras are unionized, Robert presents a clear (and often amusing) picture of what you need to know to participate meaningfully in your orchestra and your local.
Robert goes on to describe how an orchestra works, from both the musicians’ point of view, discussing such topics as peer review, tenure, auditions, and revolving seating, and the industry’s point of view, touching on orchestra categories and funding. This FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) article will continue to grow – please send in your questions and Robert will add the answer.Read More