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ICSOM -- the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicans, representing American orchestral musicians.
ROPA -- the Regional Orchestra Players' Association, representing American orchestral musicians who play with smaller- budget orchestras.






AFM of the United States and Canada -- the Musician's Union.
AFM Canadian Conference -- The regional conference of AFM Locals.
Symphonic Services Division - This page has a great deal of timely information -- all you have to do is register for the AFM members-only area.
The Musicians' Pension Fund of Canada can answer any questions about your AFM Pension.



Canadian Broadcasting Corporation main site -- CBC Music and Opera at iCulture -- hear the current Arts Report or RealAudio.

Statistics Canada -- good source for numbers at negotiation time.














The Toronto Musicians' Association Self Management Career Resource Centre is an invaluable asset for Canadian performing artists.

Canadian Musicians' Employment Status Archive - offers access to specific information in regard to musicians' employment status. 

Orchestras Canada - Their site has many Professional Development ideas and resources. Jointly with OCSM, they developed an audition ethics code.

CCRA Interpretation Bulletin IT525: This bulletin discusses the criteria used by the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA) to distinguish a performing artist who is an employee from one who is self-employed. This distinction is important in determining the expenses that are deductible in computing the artist's income.

The Symphony Orchestra Library Centre has many resources including reference materials and audition lists.

The Canadian Cultural Web Directory is a menu-style directory of Canadian arts and cultural web sites, with connections to over two thousand Canadian sites.

Canadian Conference of the Arts- Canada's oldest and largest arts advocacy group, representing more than 200,000 Canadian artists and cultural workers from all disciplines from all across the country. Their bulletins ensure you are aware and current with developments affecting the arts and cultural sector.

In the U.S, a coalition of concerned organizations including the American Symphony Orchestra League has created a two-page "Tips for Traveling Musicians". It is available on the ASOL's government affairs website.

Health and Safety 











The effects of sound exposure in workplace settings, recommendations, and assesment tools: www.soundadvice.info

The Ontario Ministry of Labour's Safety Guidelines the Live Performance industry includes orchestra pits and sound levels.

Musicians and Injuries -- a website dedicated to printed and online resources.

The Health and Safety for Musicians seminars have interactive programs on various topics. A project of the The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-School of Public Health and the University of Illinois-School of Public Health.

Canadian Network for Health in the Arts -- Play It Safe: A Health Resource Manual for Musicians and Health Professionals

Hearing Loss - Tinnitus resource page

The Centre for Human Performance and Health Promotion

The Ontario Ministry of Labour's "Health and Safety Advisory for Live Performance" publishes guidelines which recommend realistic procedures to protect those working in live performance.

Safety and Health in Arts Production and Entertainment (SHAPE) in British Columbia has a large collection of books, pamphlets, safety programs, manuals and other specific information aimed at the performing arts and motion picture industry. Link

The Artists’ Health Centre Foundation (AHCF) supports the work of the Al and Malka Green Artists’ Health Centre (AHC) at Toronto Western Hospital. It is involved in outreach, education, and prevention services for the over 20,000 professional artists who live in the Toronto area.

The Musician's Survival Manual is a guide to preventing and treating injuries of musicians. You can download the book here.

 Insurance OCSM has arranged a beneficial insurance package for musical instruments through the following company. See the "Insurance" section for more information.

Western Financial Group Insurance Solutions 201-600 Empress Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3G 0R5

For more information contact Ashley Wrixon, extension 7664 at either 204-943-0331 or 1-800-665-8990 ext.7664. ashley.wrixon[at]westernfgis.ca


  • Orchestra Digest: Holiday reckonings edition

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    On tour, and in the ether

    The NAC Orchestra finished a series of Canada 150 tours with a visit to the North, with stops in Iqaluit and Yellowknife, the Ottawa Citizen reports. The trip brought 9 musicians, several staff members, and music director Alexander Shelley to the Nunavut capital, where they worked with music students, performed a fundraiser for a new performing arts centre, and saw a breathtaking display of the Northern Lights. 

    Orchestre Métropolitain just concluded a 7-concert European tour, with stops in Paris and Amsterdam. Several journalists accompanied the tour and filed reports: Christophe Huss posted an essay for Le Devoir (in French) and Arthur Kaptainis previewed the tour for the Montreal Gazette (in English). Christophe Huss also wrote a piece for Le Devoir following the tour, arguing that OM has outgrown its profile as Montreal's "second" orchestra.
    The Calgary Philharmonic is celebrating the sesquicentennial by giving all Canadians a gift: a free subscription to Meludia, a Paris-based online ear-training platform. CBC News reports that anyone with a Canadian IP address can log in and use the service for free for one year, courtesy of the CPO. 
    For all occasions
    As we're all awash in Christmas music, Rob Kapilow reminds Toronto Star readers how and why many favourites were written by Jewish songwriters, from Irving Berlin to Mel Tormé. It's a fascinating story that starts with an exodus of Jewish refugees from Russia in the late 19th century, many of whose children became fixtures of Tin Pan Alley. 

    The Vancouver Sun proposes several classical music concerts that aren't holiday-specific, including chamber music performances by members of the Vancouver Symphony.
    For the 100th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion (Dec. 6, 1917), Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate George Elliott Clarke teamed up with Symphony Nova Scotia for an original work, the Chronicle Herald reported. Titled Achieving Disaster, Dreaming Resurrection, the work was premiered last Wednesday. 
    The New York Times recently previewed arts events around the world, singling out one Montreal Symphony weekend for special mention: a premiere of a double bass concerto by Iranian-born composer Behzad Ranjbaran in a programme also featuring Mahler, Wagner, and the OSM's octobass. 
    Conductors and the current moment
    Midway through his first season as Edmonton Symphony music director, Alexander Prior is winning over audiences with a combination of enthusiasm, passion, and an "impish" sense of humour, Edmonton Journal critic Mark Morris writes. Morris caught up with Prior to talk about orchestra traditions that could use revising, his own music, and how to capture the hearts and minds of Oilers fans. 
    Regina Symphony music director Gordon Gerrard is earning similarly rave reviews, in just his second season at the helm. The Regina Post's Jeff Dedekker interviewedGerrard and others, reviewing his tenure so far. 
    Following widely reported allegations against former Metropolitan Opera music director James Levine, who was suspended last week from further appearances with the company, the Met Orchestra musicians released a statement expressing support for the accusers, and calling on management to share results of the investigation as transparently as possible. 
    It's the "year of the conductor" at the Winnipeg Symphony, with 11 maestros taking a turn on the podium, the Free Press reports -- all of which led Holly Harris to ask why women have been so underrepresented as conductors. Just one of the 11 conductors (Canadian Keri-Lynn Wilson) is a woman. 
    Do cultural works, including classics of the ballet and opera repertoire, re-enact harmful gender stereotypes on stage? Looking at the current Toronto arts season, Globe and Mail journalist Martha Schabas argues that the ways we justify violent, misogynist works can be disingenuous. 
    Got a correction, or an orchestra news story I missed? Please email me at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or post to the list yourself! (Remember to include your name and orchestra in your post.) Thank you! - Matt Heller

    Compiled by Matt Heller, with editorial assistance from Francine Schutzman. Sources include the discussion groups of ICSOM and ROPA. Visit OCSM online at: http://ocsm-omosc.org/index.php. Visit OCSM on Facebook, or tweet us @ocsm-omosc.
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