The second MU Orchestra Section Conference took place today at The Wesley Hotel in Euston Street, NW1 and I supported my colleagues Angie Weiss and Maddy Radcliff in organising the rooms to welcome almost one hundred musicians, administrators and orchestral management from around the UK.
I was responsible for the branding, audio/visual elements and distribution of merchandise. The morning consisted of the formal Section AGM, which was followed by the afternoon’s invitational event with its intriguing agenda arranged by National Organiser Bill Kerr and Orchestral Official Morris Stemp.
The Conference principally revolved around two panel sessions. The first focused on how we can assist graduates to join the profession and how to help them avoid working under the rates in ‘vanity project’ orchestras. The panel consisted of Sophie Lewis (Chief Executive, Sinfonia Cymru), Mike Poyser (RCM Outreach Mentor), Jonathan Vaughan (Director of Music, Guildhall School of Music & Drama) and was moderated by Alex Gascoine (violinist and MU Steward with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra).
The second focused on ‘Parity: closing the gap between freelance and full time musicians’ and discussed whether freelancers should enjoy the same level of pay and terms and conditions as their full-time and employed colleagues in the orchestras. This panel consisted of John Summers (Chief Executive, Hallé Concerts Society and a member of the ABO Board), Ian Maclay (Consultant, Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra and former Managing Director RPO), Bill Kerr (MU National Organiser Orchestras) and was moderated by Dave Lee (freelance horn player and Chair of the MU Executive Committee).