Laura Ross  

What Is ICSOM?

Laura Ross
May 15, 2019

The official newsletter of ICSOM is Senza Sordino (without mute), which is published at least 4 times annually. Since the very beginning ICSOM has collected data regarding individual collective bargaining agreements that continues to be published (now by the American Federation of Musicians) annually – the ICSOM Wage Chart. Whenever an orchestra settles a new contract, details are supplied through ICSOM Settlement Bulletins. Another publication of ICSOM is the ICSOM Directory which is published every year and contains not only the rosters of every member orchestra but emeriti from those constituent orchestras who wish to remain in communication with ICSOM and their colleagues.

In the last two decades ICSOM has moved onto the world wide web with a website and mailing lists that are open to various constituent subscribers – Orchestra-L and Delegate-L.

In 1967 ICSOM began tabulating conductor evaluations and has nearly 600 different conductors in the current database. ICSOM is also involved in supporting minority-group instrumentalists and currently contributes prize money to winners of the Sphinx Competition. Orchestras in need of additional financial assistance during a work stoppage also have access ICSOM’s emergency relief fund.

ICSOM is also an advocate for its member orchestras on a national level. ICSOM governing board members meet frequently with AFM officers and staff to discuss matters of concern to all its orchestras. ICSOM’s electronic media committee has been involved for many decades as representatives at the bargaining table regarding national media agreements used by orchestras. ICSOM also works with other national organizations to represent the interests of its member orchestras and musicians in Washington DC and elsewhere.

ICSOM has had amazing success over the past 40-plus years. Its orchestras have grown from salaries of $5,000 for six-months of work to more than 20 orchestras with 52-week seasons, and an average of 40 weeks for all its members. Orchestras now participate directly in negotiations, ratify their agreements, and retain legal counsel of the orchestra’s choice. Protections such as tenure, peer review, and non-discrimination are key components in orchestra contracts. ICSOM was responsible for the establishment of the AFM Symphonic Services Division and the AFM Strike Fund.

Our members are only as strong as the information they have. ICSOM helps them find that information. ICSOM also continues to advocate for support of the arts locally and nationally.

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