Orchestra Music Director Salaries Disclosed

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Adaptistration, the blog on the orchestra business, has published its annual charts of salaries for most of the major American orchestras’ music directors and executives. Their numbers cover the 2009-10 season. There are a few surprises, and the range is vast.

The data, which was compiled by editor Drew McManus based on the orchestras' IRS 990 Forms, reveals that the average music director compensation decreased 6.77 percent from 2008-09 to 2009-10. For many nonprofits, this was the first season that began to see the effects of the global recession on arts funding.

At the top of the list is the Philadelphia Orchestra, which paid chief conductor Charles Dutoit with $1.83 million. On its heels is the San Francisco Symphony, which gave Michael Tilson Thomas $1.8 million, and the Boston Symphony, giving James Levine $1.3 million.

Below is the top ten list:

  1. Philadelphia Orchestra: $1,827,801
  2. San Francisco Symphony: $1,801,627
  3. Boston Symphony: $1,321,779
  4. Dallas Symphony: $1,113,134
  5. New York Philharmonic: $1,082,277
  6. Cleveland Orchestra: $1,075,204
  7. Minnesota Orchestra: $1,035,622
  8. Saint Louis Symphony: $954,392
  9. Seattle Symphony: $699,048
  10. Baltimore Symphony: $685,812

McManus also looks at the top-paid executives in the business. While the Los Angeles Philharmonic's Gustavo Dudamel was missing from the music director tally (his first season with the orchestra), its president and CEO, Deborah Bordah, topped the executive list.

  1. Los Angeles Philharmonic: $1,397,746
  2. New York Philharmonic: $860,210
  3. Boston Symphony: $603,171
  4. Atlanta Symphony: $593,294
  5. San Francisco Symphony: $495,044
  6. Chicago Symphony: $482,560
  7. Cleveland Orchestra: $460,958
  8. Dallas Symphony: $436,670
  9. Saint Louis Symphony: $406,327
  10. Minnesota Orchestra: $404,049

More charts can be found at Adaptistration.com.