The 2009/10 season was the first to suffer the brunt of the economic downturn but its impact on executive compensation varied wildly from one group to the next. This season experienced some of the largest gaps between compensation extremes with some executives enjoying modest to healthy increases while others experienced sizable cuts. But in the end, and for the first time since the 2000/01 season, the average orchestra executive earned less in 2009/10 than the previous season.
WHAT’S NEW FOR THE 2012 REPORTS
Although the reports cover the 2009/10 season, the orchestras which have liquidated and ceased operations since that time have been removed from the list (Honolulu, New Mexico, and Syracuse). If you’re curious about data from those organizations from the 2009/10 season through when they went bankrupt, you can still find their respective 990’s at guidestar.org.
Likewise, some groups were removed due to an increase in the minimum total expenditure threshold to be included in the reports. At the same time, those were replaced by new entries including Fresno Phil, Monterey Symphony, National Symphony, Orchestra Iowa, Portland (ME) Symphony, and Sarasota Orchestra. Of those, National has traditionally been filtered out due to difficulty with extracting some of the figures from the overall Kennedy Center data and Sarasota flew under the radar for a few years due to their branding change (they used to be Florida West Coast Symphony).
“Where did the musician compensation figures go?”
In short, this year’s reports will not include that information. Detailed explanations are available in the series’ introduction article and in order to help make up for that missing data, this year’s reports will include compensation figures as well as the figures reported from the previous season. This should make it a bit easier for everyone to see dollar for dollar changes between seasons.
WHERE THE DATA COMES FROM
In order to provide information that is as accurate as possible, data from the 2009/10 season is gathered from the following sources:
- Executive compensation figures were obtained from their respective orchestra’s IRS Form 990 for the 2009/10 concert season.
- Total Expenditures were also obtained from each respective orchestra’s IRS Form 990 for the 2009/10 concert season (Due to their relationship within a larger performing arts structure, Total Expenditure figures for National Symphony and Atlanta Symphony are unavailable and the figures here are representative approximations.).
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 submit 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 orchestra executive may have had a large increase in salary due to a contractually mandatory severance or deferred compensation package. Additionally, if any executive was not employed for a full season, the documents used to gather this data do not indicate how much of the season the individual received a salary. As such, the cumulative compensation may artificially inflate annual earnings. Conversely, reported figures may not reflect bonuses or other incentive payments and may therefore under report what executives actually earn; as a result, the cumulative compensation for executive directors may or may not be more than what is listed.
If you’re curious about exactly how much of a difference can exist, the recent Philadelphia Orchestra bankruptcy proceeding shed a sliver of light onto the river of unspecified compensation executives can garner by way of perks and benefits. Details were reported in an article published on 3/2/2012.
From the 2008/09 to the 2009/10 season…
- …the average executive compensation decreased 6.05 percent.
- …the Los Angeles Philharmonic had the highest compensated orchestra executive at $1,397,746.
- …the average orchestra total expenditure increased 7.75 percent.
TOP 10 EARNERS
- Los Angeles Philharmonic: $1,397,746
- New York Philharmonic: $860,210
- Boston Symphony: $603,171
- Atlanta Symphony: $593,294
- San Francisco Symphony: $495,044
- Chicago Symphony: $482,560
- Cleveland Orchestra: $460,958
- Dallas Symphony: $436,670
- Saint Louis Symphony: $406,327
- Minnesota Orchestra: $404,049