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Each year, one of the most popular items in the orchestra compensation reports is a big picture overview of all compensation alongside Total Expenditure figures. If you’ve been looking for something that shows all the report values in a single chart, this is your article.

Update, 8/4/17 12:45pm CT: the original version of the chart contained a few music director values which were inverted between rows. The figures below are the corrected version.

ENSEMBLE
Total Expenditures
Executive Compensation
Music Director Compensation
Concertmaster Compensation
Alabama Symphony $6,467,347 $175,102 NA $124,181
Atlanta Symphony* NA $524,650 $657,424 $179,862
Austin Symphony $4,576,189 $153,208 $162,736 NA
Baltimore Symphony $27,374,158 $353,795 $1,015,937 $281,745
Boston Symphony $91,321,051 $777,296 not reported $443,715
Buffalo Philharmonic $11,477,484 $277,417 $340,597 NA
Charlotte Symphony $9,433,779 $196,867 $226,670 NA
Chattanooga Symphony $2,463,875 $96,470 NA NA
Chicago Symphony $79,160,340 NA $2,776,869 $549,963
Cincinnati Symphony $29,674,708 $410,505 $180,300 $294,868
Cleveland Orchestra $53,164,430 $629,303 $1,248,711 $501,155
Colorado Springs Philharmonic $3,355,301 $150,387 $78,900 NA
Colorado Symphony $13,010,712 NA NA $130,871
Columbus Symphony $7,608,152 NA NA NA
Dallas Symphony $36,244,884 $521,699 $2,657,139 $299,539
Dayton Philharmonic* $8,417,967 $129,209 $172,408 NA
Detroit Symphony $32,926,906 $437,007 $828,591 $201,701
Florida Orchestra $9,915,432 $175,263 NA NA
Fort Wayne Philharmonic $4,476,347 NA $134,996 $125,747
Fort Worth Symphony $12,055,857 $167,195 $376,819 NA
Grand Rapids Symphony $9,658,212 $157,681 $206,376 NA
Hartford Symphony $5,330,763 NA $181,236 NA
Houston Symphony $29,731,886 $366,376 not reported $246,191
Indianapolis Symphony $26,519,942 $330,240 $395,000 $216,872
Jacksonville Symphony $9,927,343 $109,845 NA NA
Kalamazoo Symphony $3,007,115 $90,351 $136,223 NA
Kansas City Symphony $15,505,038 $262,922 $437,533 $182,861
Knoxville Symphony $3,827,950 $125,770 $114,400 NA
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra $3,920,652 $144,518 $179,475 NA
Los Angeles Philharmonic $120,420,205 $1,714,486 $1,906,100 $524,910
Louisville Orchestra $5,914,881 $146,731 NA NA
Memphis Symphony $3,422,872 $187,236 NA NA
Milwaukee Symphony $16,498,565 $230,845 $402,308 $174,692
Minnesota Orchestra $32,624,790 $1,048,686 $241,377 $160,995
Nashville Symphony $25,358,267 $339,436 $415,739 $173,840
National Symphony* NA $305,762 not reported $378,254
New Jersey Symphony $12,517,433 $161,009 $212,100 $182,777
New York Philharmonic $76,591,182 $675,984 $1,672,450 $437,538
North Carolina Symphony $13,472,075 $221,454 $242,296 $121,483
Omaha Symphony $7,025,131 $182,735 $162,025 NA
Oregon Symphony $16,014,735 NA $391,723 $165,124
Pasadena Symphony $3,691,395 $130,000 NA NA
Pacific Symphony $20,042,011 $301,149 $416,836 $181,978
Philadelphia Orchestra $49,826,461 $776,143 $1,110,000 $406,355
Phoenix Symphony $11,145,099 $297,607 NA NA
Pittsburgh Symphony $34,558,633 NA $504,599 $283,187
Portland (ME) Symphony $3,513,250 $106,289 $142,491 NA
Richmond Symphony $5,127,052 $122,583 $108,732 NA
Rochester Philharmonic $10,354,890 $148,530 NA NA
Saint Louis Symphony $27,947,449 NA $1,042,644 $278,216
San Antonio Symphony $8,055,451 $142,302 $274,268 NA
San Diego Symphony $24,076,477 $428,855 $466,780 $231,920
San Francisco Symphony $78,866,104 $542,638 $2,715,815 $640,714
Santa Rosa Symphony $4,093,110 $188,801 $114,315 NA
Sarasota Orchestra $8,637,583 $176,441 $119,980 NA
Seattle Symphony $27,365,107 $312,329 $543,169 $200,192
Spokane Symphony $2,874,695 $120,719 not reported NA
St. Paul Chamber Orchestra $10,971,007 $271,197 NA $209,586
Symphony Silicon Valley $4,108,118 $143,585 NA NA
Toledo Symphony $5,547,373 $111,731 $123,600 NA
Tucson Symphony $4,407,192 $92,506 $135,752 NA
Utah Symphony $20,335,607 $259,909 $469,644 $185,622
Virginia Symphony $6,683,835 NA $156,000 NA
West Virginia Symphony $2,943,782 NA $175,852 NA

* Due to the nature of operating as an entity within a larger 501(c)3, Total Expenditure figures for National Symphony and Atlanta Symphony are not included.

Did you know? Direct links to most of the orchestra’s financial disclosure documents at guidestar.org are available in the Orchestra Financial Reports.

16 Year Trends

Although the Orchestra Compensation Reports have been around since 2005 (which covered the 2003/04 season) my 990 archive extends back through the 1999/00 season. Consequently, this overview article is an excellent vehicle for reaching back into those archives usually reserved for consulting work and extracting information to share.

To that end, I’m happy to say that this year’s installment will include a new dynamic charting tool that will make it easier to not only provide charts and graphs for changes in average compensation per stakeholder, but overlay them into a single chart. All of this makes it much easier to visualize the bigger picture (as an aside, keep your eyes out for some exciting news in August on this item).

16 year executive average

Average Executive Compensation From 1999/00 Season Through 2014/15 Season

16 year music director average

Average Music Director Compensation From 1999/00 Season Through 2014/15 Season

16 year concertmaster average

Average Concertmaster Compensation From 1999/00 Season Through 2014/15 Season

The Deliberation Continues

When the compensation reports were launched back in 2005, there was a great deal of reader discussion about the value of each stakeholder group along with questions about why they didn’t share comparatively equal gains and losses from one season to the next. In the wake of the economic downturn, those discussions began to wane but a few key areas have once again sparked that core discussion.

For example, the supposedly shared sacrifice of Philadelphia Orchestra’s CEO during their bankruptcy was quickly followed by a complete restoration and a host of bonuses and perks (details). Last year’s discovery of a $3,321,541 signing bonus for Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s music director during the 2013/14 season was tempered by the organization’s spokespersons by framing it as a one-time anomaly. Nonetheless, the following season produced 48.5 percent increase over 2012/13 compensation.

It will be fascinating to see whether or not there are any changes in how boards initially set and evaluate compensation for executive and music director stakeholders. Based on the patterns from the past few available seasons, there doesn’t appear to be much inclination to control those expenditures. For music directors in particular, the rate of increase in average compensation actually increased over the previous decade after a single year drop in the 2008/09 season.

Since its inception in 2005, the purpose of the Orchestra Compensation Reports is to help reinforce the value of transparency and inspire patrons to create a stronger connection with their local orchestra and how it functions.

To that end, it has been wonderful watching discussions across social media and other media outlets unfold. Yes, there’s always going to be an element of salaciousness but that quickly melts away into more meaningful discussions surrounding the systems used to determine whether the field is rewarding effort or achievement.

11 months ago |
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