In response to a laudatory article about the non-union Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra titled “This orchestra wants no conductor: How Kaleidoscope aims to move in different directions” published in the LA Times by Rick Schultz on Feb. 13, 2019, we share another view written by AFM Local 47 Director Vivian Wolf. Kaleidoscope refuses to sign onto an AFM contract and currently appears on the union’s Do Not Work For list for failure to pay musicians according to industry standards. Along with the entire Executive Board, Wolf is deeply concerned about this situation, and Local 47 will continue to reach out to Kaleidoscope in order to discuss organizing the orchestra and its musicians under an AFM agreement.
It was with great interest that I read the article by Rick Schultz describing the Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra. The article was highly laudatory and indeed, there is much to praise about the ensemble founded by Benjamin Mitchell. It is the only conductor-less orchestra in the Los Angeles area, it brings music to unique venues and champions new repertoire. What it doesn’t do, is pay the performers a fair wage. In fact, by refusing any involvement with the American Federation of Musicians Local 47, Kaleidoscope is exploiting the enthusiasm and energy of its young musicians. Even though the ensemble receives many large contributions, the orchestra does not have any kind of contract and certainly doesn’t offer the players any health or pension benefits — benefits that would be in play under a union contract. Continue reading