American Guild of Musical Artists
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|Full name||American Guild of Musical Artists|
|Key people||James Odom of the Chicago Lyric Opera, President|
|Office location||1430 Broadway, New York City 10018 212-265-3687|
The American Guild of Musical Artists, AFL–CIO (AGMA) is the American labor union that represents 8,000 current and retired opera singers, ballet and other dancers, opera directors, backstage production personnel at opera and dance companies, and figure skaters.
According to its website (www.musicalartists.org) it is the “labor organization that represents the men and women who create America’s operatic, choral and dance heritage." AGMA claims exclusive jurisdiction over all aspects of the work of its members and shares some Broadway jurisdiction with its sister union, Actors’ Equity Association. Any artist who performs at principal American opera or dance companies work under AGMA contracts.
The Guild was founded in 1936 in an effort to eliminate exploitation of opera singers who were being forced into oppressive contracts without benefits or protections. Over the years, the Guild expanded its jurisdiction to include dancers (including athletes who dance on ice) and production personnel.
The AGMA logo is an original drawing by William Chandler Christy, given as a gift by him to AGMA.
AGMA is associated with the Associated Actors and Artistes of America (AAAA), which is the primary association of performer's unions in the United States. The AAAA is affiliated with the AFL-CIO. AGMA maintains its principal office at 1430 Broadway in New York City, and has offices in Philadelphia, Washington DC, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.
As with most labor unions, AGMA’s structure includes both a professional staff of employees who administer the union and a system of internal government that sets the policy for the union. AGMA’s governing entity is called the Board of Governors, and is composed of elected officers who are members of the union and elected by the members of the union. AGMA’s President is James Odom. AGMA’s senior staff consists primarily of negotiators, including National Executive Director Alan S. Gordon.
AGMA is unique among the AAAA entertainment unions for several reasons: First, unlike all other performers’ unions, AGMA does not prohibit its members from performing non-union work. AGMA provides an extensive nationwide net of attorneys and negotiation specialists to defend the professional, civil and human rights of its members.
The 50th Anniversary Gala Of The American Guild Of Musical Artists starring Beverly Sills was a major event at the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center, November 3, 1986. All proceeds were donated to benefit the AGMA Relief Fund. The gala featured over 300 luminary artists from dance, opera and concert stage, including performances from the New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre and the major stars from the Metropolitan Opera & New York City Opera. The performance was conducted by Robert Irving and Julius Rudel. Directed by Donald Saddler and was produced by Lawrence Leritz and Alex Dube. Distinguished artists also appearing were Alexandra Danilova, Frederic Franklin, William Warfield, Vera Zorina, Kitty Carlisle Hart and Natalia Makarova. A special highlight was the opening of the second act, with opera star Beverly Sills dancing with Peter Martins in Balanchine's "Vienna Waltzes".
AGMA represents the dancers of New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Alvin Ailey, Atlanta Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, BalletMet, Ballet San Jose, Ballet Tech, Ballet West, Boston Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Dance Theater of Harlem, Houston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham, Milwaukee Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, the Washington Ballet, and the Corps de Ballet at the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Los Angeles Opera, San Francisco Opera, The Washington Opera, and the dancers of Movin' Out.
AGMA also represents the principal singers, choristers, directors and production personnel at Arizona Opera, Baltimore Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Carmel Bach Festival, Central City Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Cincinnati Opera, Dallas Opera, Florentine Opera, Music Before 1800, Musica Sacra, New Orleans Opera, New York City Opera, New York Concert Singers, New York Grand Opera, New York Philharmonic, New York Virtuoso Singers, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Opera Orchestra of New York, Opera Pacific, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Orchestral Association, Philadelphia Singers, Philharmonic Orchestra of New Jersey, Pittsburgh Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Grant Park Symphony, Henry Street Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Lyric Opera Center, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Melodius Accord, The Metropolitan Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Portland Opera, San Diego Opera, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Symphony, Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera, Tri-Cities Opera, Washington Concert Opera, Washington National Opera, and Wolf Trap Opera.