Throwback Thursday: Music Director Compensation

We’re about two months away from the latest installment in the annual orchestra compensation reports so I thought it would be fun to take a quick look back at the music director installment from last year’s series.

Adaptistration People 041If you recall, this was one of the biggest bombshells in the entire series history in that it reported Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s (DSO) music director Jaap van Zweden’s bank-busting $5,110,538 annual compensation.

Michael Granberry wrote an excellent follow-up article for the 6/22/2016 edition of the Dallas Morning News where it was first reported that the DSO amended its previous statement explaining the compensation windfall with the newly added closing sentence “Upon receiving this bonus in 2013, Jaap determined that he wanted to use the majority of it to directly benefit the orchestra and it will do that for years to come.”

When asked about how that is going to take shape, neither the DSO nor Van Zweden’s representatives provided any details. Moreover, they provided no timeline or schedule for implementation.

We’ll be checking in with the group during the upcoming compensation report to see what’s changed since then.

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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