American Orchestras and Their Unions in the Nineteenth Century

Edited by John Spitzer

in American Orchestras in the Nineteenth Century

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780226769769
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226769776 | DOI:
American Orchestras and Their Unions in the Nineteenth Century

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Musicians' unions played critical roles in American orchestras in the nineteenth century, when the American Federation of Musicians was organized and musicians' unions became part of the American Federation of Labor. The unions tended to resemble one another closely. Nineteenth-century American musicians' unions shared three central features: closed shop, price list, and leader system. The weaknesses of nineteenth-century American musicians' unions were structurally based. Their influence differed according to the type of orchestra. Musicians' unions probably served least well for concert orchestras, and particularly poorly for philharmonic societies and symphony orchestras. Among the three types of American orchestra—casual, seasonal, and concert—musicians' unions fostered the success and well-being of the first two types and of the musicians who played in them.

Keywords: Federation of Musicians; Federation of Labor; American orchestras; closed shop; price list; leader system; concert orchestras; symphony orchestras

Chapter.  9382 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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