Not unlike the previous season, the Executive Shuffle was a popular dance among ICSOM executive directors. In fact, 16% of the ICSOM symphonic ensembles had executive compensation figures which were impacted by a change in executive leadership…
Where The Numbers Come From
The data presented in this report coincides with the corresponding documentation from the 2004-2005 season. In order to provide information that is as accurate as possible, data is gathered from the following sources:
- Executive Director (also called president and/or CEO) Compensation figures were obtained from their respective orchestra’s IRS Form 990 for the 2004-2005 concert season.
- Total Ensemble Expenditures were also obtained from each respective orchestra’s IRS Form 990 for the 2004-2005 concert season.
- Musician Base Salary figures were obtained from compensation records collected by the American Federation of Musicians and IGSOBM (Seattle) for the 2004-2005 concert season.
The Executive Director Compensation figures include the combined amounts reported as what the IRS classifies as “compensation” and “contributions to employee benefit plans & deferred compensation”. However, each orchestra does not always report figures for the latter category. At the same time, there were some noticeable inclusions in the deferred compensation category for this season.
The Musician Base Salary figures collected by the AFM for ICSOM ensembles are done so on an annual basis and reported in a booklet entitled Wage Scales & Conditions in the Symphony Orchestra.
Adaptistration makes no claim to the accuracy of information from documents compiled or reported by external sources. If you have reason to believe any of the information is inaccurate or has changed since reported in any of the above sources and you can provide documentation to such effect, please feel free to send in a notice.
What The Numbers Don’t Show
It is important to remember that the numbers shown do not always convey a complete compensation picture. For example, an executive director may have had a large increase in salary because they were leaving a position and per terms of their contract they may have received a sizeable severance or deferred compensation package. As such, the cumulative compensation may artificially inflate or reduce their annual earnings.
Furthermore, these figures may not reflect bonuses or other incentive payments, therefore underreporting what executives may actually earn. Also missing from the figures are expense accounts and other perks, which are rarely reported on the IRS Form 990’s. As such, the cumulative compensation for executive directors may or may not be more than what is listed.
Additionally, even though there are indications noting when individuals were not employed for a full season, the documents used to gather data do not indicate how much of the season an individual received a salary.
The “Musician Base Salary” figures do not include any additional payments offered by some organizations such as voluntary outreach services, and minimum overscale and/or seniority payments, all of which are more common for ICSOM musicians as opposed to their ROPA peers. Finally, these figures do not include any of the opera, ballet, or festival orchestras which are members of ICSOM or IGSOBM.
How Things Compare To Last Year
- Due to some wild shifts in the Executive Shuffle and a number of ensembles employing interim executives for longer stretches of time, the average compensation figure for ICSOM executives actually dropped by 4.52 percent. Nevertheless, if you removed the eight highest and lowest percentage increases and decreases from the previous season, the average ICSOM executive compensation grew by 3.64 percent (which is still less than half of the average increase over the previous four seasons).
- For the second year in a row, one executive’s compensation exceeded the $1,000,000 mark.
- For the first time in the history of ICSOM symphonic ensembles, the highest paid executive was a woman.
- Although improved over the previous season, the 1.82 percent average increase in Base Musician Compensation was still below the rate of inflation and less than half of the increases from the 00/01 through 02/03 seasons.
- The 2004-2005 was the first season since the Compensation Reports started which witnessed musician compensation at one orchestra (St. Louis) slide considerably due to a work stoppage.
Who Earns The Most?
Even though the overall average for executive compensation slipped, that didn’t prevent those at the top of the list from setting new compensation benchmakrs. Here’s where the money went in 2004-2005:
- The Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Deborah Borda earned $1,325,542
- The New York Philharmonic’s Zarin Mehta earned $767,807
- The Cleveland Orchestra’s Gary Hanson earned $559,227
- The Cincinnati Symphony’s Steven Monder earned $530,383
- Boston Symphony’s Mark Volpe earned $476,122
- Atlanta Symphony’s Allison Vulgamore earned $443,812
Whoever said there is a glass ceiling in this business isn’t paying much attention as Los Angeles Philharmonic President & CEO Deborah Borda set a new all-time-high annual compensation figure, for an ongoing executive, with her 2004-2005 compensation. According to the organization’s IRS Form 990, Ms. Borda was paid a whopping $1,325,542, which is just inches from the previous benchmark of $1,350,034 set in 2003-2004 by the Cleveland Orchestra’s Tom Morris.
However, one noticeable difference between these two figures is that Mr. Morris’ compensation package was due largely in part because he received a significant deferred compensation package which resulted from his retirement. In Ms. Borda’s case, her compensation was inflated due to a one-time lump sum payment related to changes in life insurance policies as a result of a recent contract negotiation (a lengthy explanation is offered by the organization on page 82 of their Form 990).
We’ll have to wait until the L.A. Phil’s 2005-2006 IRS Form 990 is released in order to find out what other improvements Ms. Borda will benefit from as a result of her contact negotiation. Nevertheless, even without the one-time lump sum payment detailed in the 990, she remains at the top of the 2004-2005 compensation pile with her annual compensation figure of $894,390; which is more than $100,000 ahead of her closest compensation rival, Zarin Mehta.