July 17, 2019

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

The musicians of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra have now been locked out for a month. ICSOM issued a CALL TO ACTION at the 101st American Federation of Musicians (AFM) Convention in Las Vegas on June 17, 2019, the very day that BSO musicians were egregiously locked out by their management. Immediately, the musicians of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Kansas City Symphony responded with generous donations. AFM Local Officers stepped up to magnanimously support the BSO musicians. Since then, over $250,000 dollars have been swiftly raised by the generous donations from ICSOM’s member orchestras and musicians across the nation and internationally.

This recent CALL TO ACTION also reaches another important milestone. Since its inception in 2007, over $2 million has been raised and disbursed to orchestras in work stoppages. The ICSOM CALL TO ACTION is a clarion call to musicians throughout our industry, both here and abroad, that our fellow musicians need our help.

Following nearly a year of talking and playing, the lockout came on the heels of passage by the Maryland General Assembly of HB1404, which designated $3.2 million in funding from the State of Maryland. This bill would have allowed time for a critical analysis of possible improvements in the BSO’s function. Unfortunately, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan decided not to release the funding, precipitating the incredibly destructive decision by BSO leadership to cancel their summer season and lock out the musicians with less than three weeks notice.

“It is deeply gratifying to see the quick and generous response of our member orchestras and AFM musicians across the country towards our colleagues in peril at the BSO,” said Meredith Snow, ICSOM Chairperson. “Musicians everywhere clearly understand that what happens to the Baltimore Symphony musicians affects us all. Our members have responded immediately to this collective action.”

It is essential that the musicians of ICSOM respond whenever and wherever our members are in need. It is through our united network of orchestras that we can effectively articulate to our managements that a move against one of us is a move against all of us. The unity and generosity of all ICSOM musicians, along with our brothers and sisters in the Regional Orchestra Players Association (ROPA), the Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians (OCSM), the Recording Musicians Association (RMA) and the Theater Musicians Association (TMA), and throughout the American Federation of Musicians (AFM), have been an inspiration to our members and a cautionary tale to our managements. The support of our ICSOM orchestras in these CALLS TO ACTION has been extraordinary and makes a tangible difference in the lives of our fellow musicians.

Meredith Snow, Chair
The ICSOM Governing Board

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The International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM) represents over 4000 symphonic musicians in the top 52 orchestras in the United States. ICSOM's mission is to promote a better and more rewarding livelihood for the skilled orchestral performer and to enrich the cultural life of our society.

Please contact ICSOM Chair Meredith Snow at (818) 786-3776, or by writing meredsnow@gmail.com.

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Baltimore Symphony

Photo credit: Jon Christopher Meyers