Incorporated Society of Musicians

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Incorporated Society of Musicians
Founded 1882
Key people Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive; Richard Hallam MBE, President 13/14; Professor Barry Ife CBE, President 14/15
Office location London
Country United Kingdom

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) is the UK’s professional body for musicians and subject association for music.

The ISM is an independent non profit-making organisation.


The ISM has nearly 6,500 members, who come from all branches of the profession, including performing, education, music creation and music administration.,[1] and provides different levels of membership for students and graduates, orchestras, education bodies and those who are interested in supporting their work.[2]


Several services are offered as part of membership, from legal advice from an in-house legal team to comprehensive insurance cover that includes public and employer’s liability insurance, and legal expenses insurance. There are also 24 hour legal, tax and counselling helplines available.[3]


The ISM campaigns and lobbies stakeholders to protect the interests of the music profession and to make sure the views of members, the music industry and the arts and education sectors are made known to policy makers. Recent campaigns include:

Protect Music Education[edit]

In 2013 the ISM launched the campaign the Protect Music Education [4] calling for confirmed funding for music education hubs from 2015, and for a Government proposal advising local authorities to cease funding music education to be dropped. It has united 134 organisations from across the music sector,[5] and gained more than 5,000 signatures to date.

On 22 July 2014, the campaign was deemed a double success, with £75million of funding for music education in 2015/16 secured,[6] and the Government backing down on its proposal.[7]

Bacc for the Future[edit]

The ISM led a successful campaign to secure the place of music in the English Baccalaureate as part of a sixth pillar of creative and cultural subjects. The campaign achieved nearly 50,000 signatures to a petition and support from over 110 organisations. On 7 February 2013 the Government withdrew its EBC proposals and introduced a new performance measure for schools that will include creative subjects.[8]

Instruments on Planes[edit]

An ongoing campaign to help musicians travel by air with confidence, taking fragile, hand-held instruments in the cabin as part of hand baggage allowance.[9] easyJet announced a more musician-friendly hand baggage policy following discussions with the ISM.[10]


The ISM holds memberships with many industry bodies, including the British Copyright Council, Council for Subject Associations,[11] Creative Coalition Campaign, Creators' Rights Alliance, Educational Recording Agency, Music Education Council, National Campaign for the Arts and the National Music Council.


In 1976 The ISM established the Distinguished Musician Award to acknowledge outstanding contributions to British musical life. Recipients have included: Malcolm Arnold, Janet Baker, Sarah Connolly, Pierre Boulez, Adrian Boult, Julian Bream, Janet Craxton, Peter Maxwell Davies, Colin Davis, Norman Del Mar, Jacqueline du Pré, Mark Elder, James Galway, Alexander Gibson, Evelyn Glennie, Reginald Goodall, Charles Groves, Christopher Hogwood, Witold Lutosławski, Charles Mackerras, George Malcolm, John McCabe, Antonio Pappano, Peter Pears, Simon Rattle, John Stephens, Michael Tippett, William Walton, Fanny Waterman, Judith Weir and David Willcocks.

External links[edit]