The 2020 Orchestra compensation reports are coming out next week so between now and then, it’s worth taking a quick look at how past recessions have impacted compensation. Simply put, there are no shortage of lessons to learn.
When taking a look at the most recent long-term averages for executives, music director, and concertmaster compensation it’s not difficult to see exactly when the housing bubble downturn impacted trends.
Music director and executive compensation saw the sharpest declines, but they also experienced similarly steep gains in the years immediately following.
Add to that, there were high profile examples of shared sacrifice bait-and-switch, such as the Philadelphia Orchestra bankruptcy that came about toward the end of the recovery period.
While it’s folly to assume anyone can accurately prognosticate what will happen on any sort of macroscale structure, wouldn’t it be nice if we could put transparency measures in place to avoid that sort of nonsense this time around? Every time stakeholders give each other a reason not to trust one another, the entire field suffers for it down the road.