• U.S.

Music: First Conflict

2 minute read

The American Guild of Musical Artists is a dress-collar union affiliated with the A. F. of L. It was formed two years ago by Lawrence Tibbett and 114 other highly paid opera and concert artists. Last fortnight A. G. M. A., which had managed to secure a closed-shop contract with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, politely asked Violinist Yehudi Menuhin to join the union before appearing as the Philharmonic’s soloist. Menuhin refused. Guild President Tibbett fumed and called a meeting of A. G. M. A.’s board of directors in Manhattan. But when concert time came A. G. M. A. backed down, and beetle-browed Yehudi Menuhin played, un-unionized.

The concert over, the incident faded. Not, however, from Violinist Menuhin’s mind. Last week San Francisco concertgoers at a Menuhin recital found in their programs a broody manifesto. It described itself as “Yehudi Menuhin’s STAND in his first conflict with life’s brutalities and aggressive impositions immediately after coming of age, married and standing on his own feet as a free and proud citizen of a free America.” Its peroration: “It is just as if you demanded that husbands and wives had Union cards and regulations to govern their privileges and duties together; or as if the Poets and Prophets of old. or Christ and the Apostles had been forced to get Union cards and be submitted to blind Union discipline.”

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