After Berlin (2008), Amsterdam (2011) and Oslo (2014), FIM’s International Orchestra Conference took place for the first time on North American soil, in Montreal, in cooperation with the Quebec Musicians’ Guild (GMMQ, local 406 of the AFM).
Within the scope of a specific partnership, all delegates were invited to attend the closing concert of Montreal’s International Musical Competition, with prizewinners from the 2017 edition and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra conducted by Claus Peter Flor.
As in previous editions, the IOC brought together musicians, orchestra directors and other professionals from the music world from almost forty countries from the five continents. The first day featured a special cooperation with Orchestras Canada, the organisation which represents orchestra directors in Canada.
After an introduction from the Honourable Liza Frulla, former Quebec Minister of Culture, the audience warmly applauded Mrs Allison Beck who, in President Obama’s administration, was the first woman to occupy the position of Director of the US Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS).
As a unique place of exchange for the world community of orchestras, the IOC was again the focal point for numerous global orchestra traditions that exist side by side, which enabled musicians and directors to express themselves freely on topics of mutual interest without seeking to avoid controversies.
A consensus emerged to underline the important role that musicians must be able to play vis-a-vis boards of directors and, more generally speaking, on and alongside decision-making bodies
Nine thematic round tables successively addressed issues of the image of orchestras in society, the various management models, integration of digital tools, the place of musicians on boards of directors, intimidation and harassment, the role of orchestras within the educational context, intellectual property rights of musicians and their recordings, and the role of unions in providing a safe future for orchestras.
There were strong convergences between musicians and directors on essential points such as good governance, innovative approaches to highlight orchestra work or the respective roles of unions and administrations where bullying and harassment were concerned.
A consensus also emerged to underline the important role that musicians must be able to play vis-a-vis boards of directors and, more generally speaking, on and alongside decision-making bodies, even if different approaches were indicated with respect to formal organisation of the participation of musicians on such bodies.
Conclusions reflecting the point of view of musicians and their organisations on all issues addressed were adopted at the end of the conference. Moreover, the assembly expressed its support for Polish and Romanian performers through two unanimous resolutions. The conclusions, the two resolutions and the contributions of certain panellists can already be consulted on the IOC website. Numerous photos are also available on our Flickr account. The videos of the various panels are gradually going online on our YouTube chain with the agreement of the speakers concerned. The programme and profiles of speakers may be accessed permanently online, as can videos from all previous IOC editions.
We should like to reiterate our gratitude to the Quebec Musicians’ Guild (GMMQ, local 406 of AFM) for its essential role in organising the event. We should also like to thank the numerous partners whose names are listed on the IOC website and whose support was priceless, AFM, all FIM member unions who took part, as well as North American orchestra musicians’ organisations OCSM, ICSOM and ROPA.