skip to main content

Orchestra Section

The work of the Orchestra Stewards and the Roving Stewards is vital in representing you to your employer and is a prime example of a union run by members for its members.

Last updated: 15 March 2021

More than 30 Orchestral Stewards are embedded within the major orchestras and eight Roving Orchestral Stewards work as freelance players across the UK. They look after the collective representation of MU orchestral members, and negotiate fees, rates of pay and conditions with all the major UK orchestras, engagers and organisations, alongside the MU Officials. 

The MU has over 40 agreements with different orchestras, from small chamber outfits to large symphony, opera and ballet orchestras. So, if you are offered work with an orchestra, you can reference the rates of pay you will receive and conditions you’ll be working under. 

The MU Orchestra Section has four consultative committees, which cover a range of orchestra agreements.  The work of the Orchestra Stewards and the Roving Stewards is vital in representing you to your employer and is a prime example of a union run by members for its members. They dictate through the consultative committees directly what the wider MU brings up in negotiation and are balloted as to whether to accept changes or not.  

Freelance Orchestra Committee 

The MU Freelance Orchestral Committee (FOC) exists to represent the views of the self-employed orchestral community.  Members of the FOC are nominated from the 2,000 freelance members of the MU Orchestra Section.   

If you want to take a more hands-on approach to the way your pay and terms are negotiated you are welcome to seek nomination to join the FOC - just contact the MU orchestra department via email: orchestral@themu.org

Latest news and features

Photograph of an orchestra set out in a socially distanced way, we can see all the musicians sat out across the stage in distanced positions, whilst a conductor gestures from the front.

Life in Lockdown for UK Orchestras

In this longer-read feature, find out more about how UK orchestras have been faring through the pandemic – including taking on remote recording projects, working in creative new directions, and putting health and safety first in the move back to work.

Read more about Life in Lockdown for UK Orchestras
Two double bases are left leaning against chairs in what appears to be an orchestra setting.

Orchestras In Healthcare Report

First comprehensive review reveals orchestras contribute more than £1.6m to the public health sector. Almost two thirds of professional orchestras are working in health, wellbeing and social care across the UK.

Read more about Orchestras In Healthcare Report