2014 Orchestra Compensation Reports: Introduction

compensation reports icon introMuch like the 2013 reports, this year’s compensation reports are all about context. For instance, the data covers compensation for the 2011/12 season, which managed to increase the amount of already record breaking austerity driven conflict between stakeholders.

Brush fires turned into firestorms but in a turn that might be best characterized as puzzling, average compensation for each stakeholder group increased, with increases among the executive class outpacing other stakeholders by more than 50 percent.

Changes For The 2014 Reports

Those who fail to adapt, die. That adage is taken to heart here so to that end, we’ve made the following changes to enhance the data’s usefulness as well as improve the overall user experience.

  • This year includes an additional installment which provides one big chart comparing all three stakeholders side by side as well as introducing Total Expenditure figures.
  • Each stakeholder compensation chart now includes icons that indicate increase/decrease from previous season compensation.
  • Additional 13 year average charts, one for each stakeholder.
  • Expanded tooltip notes.
  • Dedicated data correction/explanation forms to make it even easier for any reader to get in touch if s/he has reason to believe any of the information is inaccurate or has changed since reported.
  • There are four less groups included in this year’s report due falling below the $2 million total expenditure threshold: Delaware Symphony, Fresno Philharmonic, Louisville Orchestra, and Orchestra Iowa.

Are The Musician Compensation Figures Back?

The 2013 Compensation Reports saw the single largest change since they were launched in 2005; namely, the exclusion of base musician compensation figures. Although the reports have always maintained a goal of providing as comprehensive an overview as possible between stakeholder compensation, the 2014 reports are still unable to incorporate base musician compensation figures due to the same root problem related to the unreliability of the source data. You can learn more about this change in the 2012 Compensation Reports introduction article.

Publication Schedule

  • Tuesday, 7/8/2014: Executives
  • Wednesday, 7/9/2014: Music Directors
  • Thursday, 7/10/2014: Concertmasters
  • Friday, 7/11/2014: Overview and 13 year averages

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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