Orchestra Compensation Reports Are Right Around The Corner

Adaptistration People 175Next week is the beginning of the 2016 Orchestra Compensation Reports, an annual series that examines the compensation trends among orchestra executives, music directors and concertmasters, at more than 65 professional U.S. orchestras.

To date, the lion’s share of data entry is complete which means all that’s left is compiling the figures and preparing the articles.

Even though these reports limit the examination to compensation figures reported in each orchestra’s IRS Form 990, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some interesting perks that fall just outside of compensation which one stakeholder or another enjoy. For instance, this item covering travel for companions from one group’s Schedule J:

The Executive Director’s spouse occasionally travels with him attending concerts and other tour specific functions at the expense of the [Association]. Companion travel is not included in taxable compensation of the Executive Director in accordance with IRS rules and regulations.

Or this item which provided “Personal services (e g, maid, chauffeur, chef)”:

Payments were made to the President & CEO… pursuant to a written employment contract that was approved by the appropriate governing body…received personal services (Financial Planning). The fair market value of such personal services was included in her calendar year 2013 Form W-2.

Then there is the increasingly common perk in the form of special interest rate “loans to and/or from Interested Persons.”

On September 12, 1997, a thirty-year, $200,000 loan was made to the Managing Director…This loan, which is secured by a mortgage on his principal residence, is payable in biweekly installments of principal and interest. During 2003, the loan was refinanced and the term was changed to fifteen years. The Interest rate was determined by using the IRS approved market rate. In effect at the time of the inception and the refinancing of the loan.

All things being equal, you can look forward to the reports starting up next Monday. In the meantime, you can check out past installments at the report archive page.

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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3 thoughts on “Orchestra Compensation Reports Are Right Around The Corner

  1. Nice to see that the non-profit world is catching up to the for-profit world and keeping items off the balance sheet and P&Ls in clever ways that are only discovered through careful attention to auditor notes. Meanwhile labor is told to suck it up since there is no money and things are all quite dire. Is there a clause for compensated travel by mistresses or just for spouses?

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