Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

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Sylph

Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by Sylph » Thu Jun 18, 2009 3:48 pm

Orchestras battling the recession need a bold new business plan. Think salary cuts

How much they — and other orchestra members — make, and why some of them should accept salary cuts

By John von Rhein

It’s everybody’s job in these recession-rocked times to get by with less, so we are constantly told. For U.S. symphony orchestras, that should mean a good deal more than making a few nips and tucks, which generally has been their response to the economic crisis thus far.

It will require a very different, much smarter business plan, beginning with a re-examination of the single largest line item in any orchestra’s budget: the expense side. That means looking hard at what everybody is paid, from top to bottom of the organization.

Executive directors and staff of U.S. orchestras, and the musicians who define the artistic identity of those orchestras, have accepted pay cuts, givebacks and other measures to help bolster their institutions in these tough times. But we have yet to hear of many music directors doing the same. Yet that’s where the greatest inflation has occurred over the last three or four decades.

Thus far only one music director of a Big Five American orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra’s Franz Welser-Most, has volunteered to take a reduction in salary, which amounts to 20 percent. Music directors Osmo Vänskä of the Minnesota Orchestra and JoAnn Falletta of the Buffalo Philharmonic and Virginia Symphony have taken smaller cuts.

The dirty little secret in the classical music world is that even the best conductors are wildly overpaid for what they are expected to do. Music director fees in the Big Five orchestras of Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, New York and Philadelphia skyrocketed during the boom years of the late 1990s and have remained high.

Of the 10 top-tier American orchestras with 52-week contracts, six paid their music directors more than $1 million in 2006-07, the most recent year for which tax documents are available. Leading the pack were Lorin Maazel of the New York Philharmonic ($2.2 million), James Levine of the Boston Symphony Orchestra ($1.5 million) and Michael Tilson Thomas of the San Francisco Symphony (also $1.5 million).

At the time of his departure from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, in 2006, Daniel Barenboim was pulling in $1.9 million, including his fees as music director, conductor and piano soloist. (No salary figures are available for principal conductor Bernard Haitink or music director-designate Riccardo Muti.)

Inflated conductor salaries are quaint souvenirs of an era when larger-than-life maestros such as Leonard Bernstein and Herbert von Karajan walked the Earth and orchestras were willing to pay just about anything for their services. Those days are long gone, but the insane fee structure is still with us.

The situation is a bit like that of banking and auto industry CEOs still living the high life even as thousands of their employees are laid off and their companies sink ever deeper into fiscal chaos.

“A music director is worth what he or she is able to bring into the organization,” says Drew McManus, an Oak Park-based orchestral consultant who provided the Tribune with the salary data included in this article. (The 2009 edition of his report, including salary figures from 76 professional U.S. orchestras, is due to be published early next month. The various other orchestra statistics came from the orchestras themselves, the reputable digest Musical America Online or published reports.)

“If they can quantify their value to the institution by asking, for example, how much additional funding they helped the group secure, it’s not an unreasonable expense,” McManus says. “But, to a large degree, I think that conductors, at the very least, are going to have to accept the same kind of reductions in compensation as the majority of artistic stakeholders in the organization. Whatever the musicians are going to take, [music directors] should take the same thing.”

So should orchestra managers. Eight of the 10 orchestras McManus surveyed paid their executive directors more than $400,000 as of 2007. The Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Deborah Borda topped the list at $1.2 million, followed by the Boston Symphony’s Mark Volpe at $957,000 and the New York Philharmonic’s Zarin Mehta at $863,935. Deborah Rutter, president of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association, made a relatively modest $442,994. She has since accepted two salary freezes.

Guest soloists make $30,000 to $70,000 per orchestral appearance, another whopping line item that cannot be supported indefinitely by organizations fretting about their future.

Some orchestras are beginning to fight back. The Chicago Symphony has just announced that beginning next season, it will reduce performance fees for guest artists and conductors as part of an operating budget for fiscal 2010 that is nearly $2 million smaller than originally planned.

“Those fees are based on what the market can or will bear,” Rutter explains. “When you hire a conductor or soloist, you have to look at what the return on that investment will be. There definitely are times when it will be a fee that the financial circumstances we are experiencing cannot bear.”

Of the numerous conductors, arts administrators, musicians and consultants interviewed for the purposes of this article, not one said salaries are fine as they stand today. When asked if they believe the compensation levels received by conductors represented by their firms are fair in light of the economic crisis, executives at four of the world’s largest and most powerful artists managements — Columbia Artists Management, IMG Artists, Opus 3 Artists and Harrison/Parrott Ltd. — either did not reply, replied with “no comment” or, in the case of CAMI’s Judie Janowski, said the question should best be “addressed to the presenters, as they are the ones paying the fees.”

What, then, of orchestra player salaries? Symphony musicians have long contended they are undercompensated compared with conductors and symphony executives. Recent salary data support their claim. If you look at the seven-year average of compensation at the CSO through 2007, you will notice that while music director salaries climbed 6.76 percent, the base salary for musicians rose only 3.4 percent.

I’ve always been for orchestra musicians being paid what they’re worth. They fought long and hard over the last four or five decades to earn their present professional status and respect. Even so, nobody can claim the players at major symphony orchestras aren’t generously paid, and some would argue that those salaries now are out of line for organizations mired in a deep recession.

As of 2007, the base annual salary was $111,670 at the CSO, $117,520 at the Los Angeles Philharmonic and $118,040 at the Boston Symphony Orchestra, although those numbers have shifted since then and many musicians in all three orchestras make far more than those amounts: The CSO’s concertmaster, for example, was paid $384,592 that year. The base pay for a CSO musician will reach $132,580 in March 2011.

I would hope, however, that the economic slump will make the Chicago players more generally aware of the vital stake they have in making the orchestra more fiscally secure and sustainable in the long haul. In fact, that already seems to be the case. As part of the orchestra’s just-announced fiscal stability plan for the next several seasons, members will take a 2.5 percent reduction in salary from July 1, 2009, to mid-September 2011. Players also have agreed to donate two additional services (a rehearsal and a performance) in 2009-10 and 2010-11.

If left unchecked, inflated salaries surely will erode audience and contributor confidence in these institutions, pushing some orchestras into bankruptcy, or worse. Ticket prices can’t rise much higher without incurring a subscriber mutiny. Major contributors are almost tapped out. Endowment draws will be down for some time to come. Yet operating expenses have not shrunk in proportion; if anything, they will continue their inexorable rise. On the expense side, there is no area left to cut besides salaries.

I would suggest the CSO put a cap on player salaries in September 2011 when the next labor contract will be up for renewal. This could be done with the proviso that the normal yearly raises would be resumed once it’s certain that a general economic recovery is under way.

In short, it’s time for everyone to work together to ensure the orchestra’s long-term well-being without impairing the artistic quality. We haven’t seen a crisis yet at the Chicago Symphony, but we could find ourselves in the middle of one if we don’t create a leaner, meaner business model soon. I’m pleased the CSO is taking significant steps in that direction.

jvonrhein@tribune.com


jbuck919
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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Jun 18, 2009 4:26 pm

Forgive me if none of those salaries seems to me excessive in either absolute or relative terms. Compared to the compensation of sports stars, pop culture and media stars, and people in finance they are miniscule. Many people of any standing at all in the middle to high end of an established profession can expect to make six figures; many bosses of such people, high six or seven figures.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Sylph

Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by Sylph » Thu Jun 18, 2009 4:47 pm

jbuck919 wrote:Forgive me if none of those salaries seems to me excessive in either absolute or relative terms. Compared to the compensation of sports stars, pop culture and media stars, and people in finance they are miniscule. Many people of any standing at all in the middle to high end of an established profession can expect to make six figures; many bosses of such people, high six or seven figures.
My point exactly. If a football (!) player can earn $100m a year or whatever, then James Levine can sure as hell earn $3m!

Heck148
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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by Heck148 » Thu Jun 18, 2009 6:54 pm

as a general rule, I am against the orchestra players taking any salary cuts - they are the orchestra, they are, essentially, collectively, the product...
cut the conductors, cut the executive director and administrator salaires...but leave the players alone. players are never overpaid.
spoken as a true professional orchestra player. :D 8)

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by DavidRoss » Thu Jun 18, 2009 7:21 pm

Heck148 wrote:as a general rule, I am against the orchestra players taking any salary cuts - they are the orchestra, they are, essentially, collectively, the product...
cut the conductors, cut the executive director and administrator salaires...but leave the players alone. players are never overpaid.
spoken as a true professional orchestra player. :D 8)
Players in good professional orchestras are very handsomely compensated, unfairly so according to my personal moral calculus, but not nearly as egregiously as pro athletes, successful actors, tv personalities, politicians, and other such entertainers. Still, I'm not willing to trust any czar of worker compensation to get it right, so I'll happily let the market decide rather than the bureau of labor standards. :D
"Most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." ~Leo Tolstoy

"It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character." ~Dale Turner

"Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either." ~Albert Einstein
"Truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it; but, in the end, there it is." ~Winston Churchill

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Heck148
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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by Heck148 » Thu Jun 18, 2009 10:14 pm

DavidRoss wrote:
Players in good professional orchestras are very handsomely compensated, unfairly so according to my personal moral calculus,
no way. if a professional musician ever performed with the same "average" as a baseball or basketball player, he/she wouldn't last more than one concert series -
the amount of training, education, preparation, daily practice/maintnenance of skills- the absolute day-to-day consistency required from professional musicians is not reflected in their pay scales.

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by DavidRoss » Thu Jun 18, 2009 11:00 pm

Heck148 wrote:
DavidRoss wrote:
Players in good professional orchestras are very handsomely compensated, unfairly so according to my personal moral calculus,
no way. if a professional musician ever performed with the same "average" as a baseball or basketball player, he/she wouldn't last more than one concert series -
the amount of training, education, preparation, daily practice/maintnenance of skills- the absolute day-to-day consistency required from professional musicians is not reflected in their pay scales.
I don't think you appreciate what most other people do, how hard they train and work at it, how many year-round hours they put in, and how comparatively poorly they are compensated. Music is great, I value it, I admire and respect musicians and their training--but the same can be said for many others, and most don't make anywhere near as much, work more hours, and cannot use the same skills to earn significant supplementary income.
"Most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." ~Leo Tolstoy

"It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character." ~Dale Turner

"Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either." ~Albert Einstein
"Truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it; but, in the end, there it is." ~Winston Churchill

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Heck148
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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by Heck148 » Fri Jun 19, 2009 7:12 am

DavidRoss wrote: I don't think you appreciate what most other people do, how hard they train and work at it, how many year-round hours they put in, and how comparatively poorly they are compensated.
I have great appreciation for what othe rpeople do.
I just don't think you can make a case that professional orchestra musicians are overpaid - since their required and expected skills, concentration, accuracy are on roughly the same level as thoracic or neurosurgeons or airline pilots...granted, nobody is going to die if a player misses a note - but if he/she misses too many their "job" is going to die...they will be out of it. consistency, accuracy, inspiration are day-to-day requisites.

as with so many things - Americans go "superstar" crazy - conductors and guest artists make huge sums of $$, far and away more than the rank and file orchestra members, who may be just as skilled as the so-called "superstars"..
cannot use the same skills to earn significant supplementary income.
being forced to teach to augment an inadequate performance salary is no bargain, believe me - been there, done that. no thanks.

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by DavidRoss » Fri Jun 19, 2009 8:19 am

A six-figure income is hardly parsimonious, and teaching music to private students in the comfort of your own home according to your own schedule of convenience is hardly the same as slaving in some stinking cannery during the summer to make ends meet, as more than one school teacher of my acquaintance has done.

I agree that the disparity between elite orchestra salaries and superstar conductor salaries seems excessive and unjustifiable--except that market forces have allotted things thus, just as they have determined that orchestra musicians are more valuable than teachers, nurses, EMTs, physical therapists, policemen, firemen, soldiers, farm workers, truck drivers, construction workers, and almost every other occupation essential to our health, safety, and economy...and that no-talent booty-shakers with outsized adolescent egos and aging adolescents playing games with balls are worth more than almost anyone else on earth.
"Most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." ~Leo Tolstoy

"It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character." ~Dale Turner

"Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either." ~Albert Einstein
"Truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it; but, in the end, there it is." ~Winston Churchill

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Heck148
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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by Heck148 » Fri Jun 19, 2009 10:18 am

DavidRoss wrote:A six-figure income is hardly parsimonious,
very few orchestra musicians are making that kind of $.
there are maybe 6 or 7 US orchestras paying base wages in excess of $100,000.

only the top "level 1" orchestras of Amer Sym Orch League rating system - that means many fine players in somewhat smaller orchestras are making alot less.
and teaching music to private students in the comfort of your own home according to your own schedule of convenience.
like any other job, it can be a PITA is you are forced to do it... I've done plenty of blue-collar grungy jobs in my day - I know what that's about.
I agree that the disparity between elite orchestra salaries and superstar conductor salaries seems excessive and unjustifiable--except that market forces have allotted things thus,
sure, look at the grossly inflated salaries of athletes....to do what?? throw a ball threw a hoop, and make 6 out of 10?? 4 or 5 out of 10??
or hit a baseball 1 out of 3 times??
just as they have determined that orchestra musicians are more valuable than teachers, nurses, EMTs, physical therapists, policemen, firemen, soldiers,....
only a very small percentage of orchestra musicians make this kind of $$. the huge majoirty do not.

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Jun 19, 2009 10:37 am

Heck148 wrote: sure, look at the grossly inflated salaries of athletes....to do what?? throw a ball threw a hoop, and make 6 out of 10?? 4 or 5 out of 10??
or hit a baseball 1 out of 3 times??
That's the high end of where they're supposed to be when competing at the elite level. Now compare that to the percentages needed just to play a violin in tune at a professional level. :)

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by Cyril Ignatius » Fri Jun 19, 2009 10:58 am

DavidRoss wrote:
Heck148 wrote:as a general rule, I am against the orchestra players taking any salary cuts - they are the orchestra, they are, essentially, collectively, the product...
cut the conductors, cut the executive director and administrator salaires...but leave the players alone. players are never overpaid.
spoken as a true professional orchestra player. :D 8)
Players in good professional orchestras are very handsomely compensated, unfairly so according to my personal moral calculus, but not nearly as egregiously as pro athletes, successful actors, tv personalities, politicians, and other such entertainers. Still, I'm not willing to trust any czar of worker compensation to get it right, so I'll happily let the market decide rather than the bureau of labor standards. :D
It is a dilemma at many levels. On the one hand, it is certainly true that classical music salaries are meager compared to those of many sports figures. And yet, the sports stars are demigods to so many people, the salary structure isn't surprising. And in both worlds, extremely high salaries can be defended by market arguments as they are above, pointing to tickets sales and commercial impact. And yet they can also be attacked on these grounds as well in many cases. Why pay a pianist $10,000 per appearance when another pianist can play pretty much as well for $1,000. In particular, we know that in any area of music, many great talents are separated from the greats mostly by momentum of fame and exposure. The real musical difference may be the width of a hair, and in some cases even, no difference at all save the celebrity/noteriety effect. And from this standpoint, coupled with the Depression we are entering, it seems inevitable that most professional orchestras will start forcing mega star salaries downward or simply opt for the lesser known, highly talented people in the shadows.

And then there is the larger philosophical issue. Why should classical music even seek to reify the rampant materialism and cult of celebrity at the heart of popular culture? Is this really what life is about? For God's sake, can't we take another road?
Cyril Ignatius

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by Heck148 » Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:03 am

jbuck919 wrote: That's the high end of where they're supposed to be when competing at the elite level. Now compare that to the percentages needed just to play a violin in tune at a professional level.
if you don't play a violin in tune, you won't play at the professional level. :)

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by DavidRoss » Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:07 am

Five years ago there were 52 American orchestras employing full-time musicians and paying a living wage. The average minimum salary for the 2003-2004 season for musicians in union orchestras was $57,370. The 75th percentile for salaries in each profession is:

Lawyers $139,130

Doctors >$145,600

Financial managers $106,490

ICSOM musicians approx. $100,000

http://orchestrafacts.org/facts.htm

When you speak of the salary disparity between conductors and players, if you are speaking of superstar conductors then you are also speaking of elite orchestra musicians. If you are going to discuss salaries of lower tier professional orchestra musicians, then the appropriate comparison is with the salaries of lower tier conductors--in which case I suspect the discrepancy is far less, though I've not bothered to research this.

P.S. I see Cyril's post got in ahead of this. Let me second his closing thoughts:
[quote author="Cyril"]Why should classical music even seek to reify the rampant materialism and cult of celebrity at the heart of popular culture? Is this really what life is about? For God's sake, can't we take another road?[/quote]

Finally, I daresay there are thousands more who can play a fiddle in tune than can hit .300 against major league pitching. :wink:
"Most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." ~Leo Tolstoy

"It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character." ~Dale Turner

"Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either." ~Albert Einstein
"Truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it; but, in the end, there it is." ~Winston Churchill

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by Heck148 » Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:08 am

Cyril Ignatius wrote: it seems inevitable that most professional orchestras will start forcing mega star salaries downward or simply opt for the lesser known, highly talented people in the shadows.
that would be an interesting development. you are certainly correct that there are many very fine players, soloist caliber, who are not well known, who are trying to make careers, and can deliver terrific performances...

but concert audiences are by and large a very conservative lot - they want the known quantities, the old standards, the warhorses, etc...it is tough to break thru that collective stasis....

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by nut-job » Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:10 am

Maybe in the Soviet Union people were paid according to their value to society. We know how that worked out. In the free world people are payed whatever others are willing to give them for their services. It seems fair to me as long as fraud or deception is not involved.

So a ball player gets millions for hitting a ball once every three times. If there are millions glued to their TV sets watching him do it then I don't see why he or she isn't entitled to whatever share of the proceeds he or she can negotiate. If the members of the Chicago symphony want to make big salaries, or pay exorbitant fees to conductors and soloists, great, all the power too them. But if their high fees raise ticket prices and recording fees to the extent that music lovers won't pony up, then they go bankrupt and we can raze their hall and put up a nice Price Club. I don't see why the government should subsidize high salaries of people who provide a service that people don't think is worth paying for.

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by DavidRoss » Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:14 am

Heck148 wrote:
Cyril Ignatius wrote: it seems inevitable that most professional orchestras will start forcing mega star salaries downward or simply opt for the lesser known, highly talented people in the shadows.
that would be an interesting development. you are certainly correct that there are many very fine players, soloist caliber, who are not well known, who are trying to make careers, and can deliver terrific performances...

but concert audiences are by and large a very conservative lot - they want the known quantities, the old standards, the warhorses, etc...it is tough to break thru that collective stasis....
The public wants to see YoYo Ma, not Wendy Warner. When Ma or Joshua Bell visits our local venue, the large house sells out. When a little known Curtis grad plays, they can't even sell out the small theater seating only a tenth as many. But educating people is difficult, especially against their will.
"Most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." ~Leo Tolstoy

"It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character." ~Dale Turner

"Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either." ~Albert Einstein
"Truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it; but, in the end, there it is." ~Winston Churchill

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Heck148
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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by Heck148 » Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:18 am

DavidRoss wrote:Five years ago there were 52 American orchestras employing full-time musicians and paying a living wage. The average minimum salary for the 2003-2004 season for musicians in union orchestras was $57,370. The 75th percentile for salaries in each profession is:

Lawyers $139,130

Doctors >$145,600

Financial managers $106,490
thank you - my point exactly - The average minimum salary for the 2003-2004 season for musicians in union orchestras was $57,370

as shown by your own figures, far less than doctors, lawyers, financial mgrs, etc...
When you speak of the salary disparity between conductors and players, if you are speaking of superstar conductors then you are also speaking of elite orchestra musicians.
no matter at what level you discuss it, orchestra musicians are not overpaid, relative to other professions regardless of the "tier"

very few orchestral musicians are earning $100,000/year from their orchestra performance job.
Finally, I daresay there are thousands more who can play a fiddle in tune than can hit .300 against major league pitching.
I daresay that any professional orchestra principal who hit .300 in his musical at-bats [solos] in major orchestra repertoire would not be in the job for very long. 8) :)

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by nut-job » Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:22 am

Heck148 wrote:
Cyril Ignatius wrote: it seems inevitable that most professional orchestras will start forcing mega star salaries downward or simply opt for the lesser known, highly talented people in the shadows.
that would be an interesting development. you are certainly correct that there are many very fine players, soloist caliber, who are not well known, who are trying to make careers, and can deliver terrific performances...
This has already largely happened in the sphere of recordings, where orchestras like the New York Philharmonic have seen their recording activities vanish while obscure orchestras crank out brilliant recordings on independent record labels.

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by Heck148 » Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:26 am

nut-job wrote:So a ball player gets millions for hitting a ball once every three times. If there are millions glued to their TV sets watching him do it then I don't see why he or she isn't entitled to whatever share of the proceeds he or she can negotiate.
that says alot about the values of our society, doesn't it??
the point remains - orchestra musicians are most certainly NOT overpaid, for the skills, education, training, practice required for their profession...
the fact that the American people do not seem to value this highly says more about the values of the public than it does about the skills of those in the profession.

so my orchestra is in the process of unionizing, to earn better wages, and to achieve better job security. now I'm sure I'll get to hear the all the anti-labor bullsh*t.
After all - I'm already overpaid, i should want to play for free!! for the love of music!! [retches, pukes all over keyboard]....gawd, what a crock... :twisted:

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by Heck148 » Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:29 am

nut-job wrote: This has already largely happened in the sphere of recordings, where orchestras like the New York Philharmonic have seen their recording activities vanish while obscure orchestras crank out brilliant recordings on independent record labels.
I agree completely - the musicians' union has taken a very backward, archaic and obstinate approach to the entire issue of recordings and media presentation...

it's one of my major misgivings regarding union representation.

the major orchestras are only offering recordings on their own labels, while Naxos cranks out skillions of recordings with little European groups - some excellent, others, not so...

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by Cyril Ignatius » Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:35 am

Heck148 wrote:
Cyril Ignatius wrote: it seems inevitable that most professional orchestras will start forcing mega star salaries downward or simply opt for the lesser known, highly talented people in the shadows.
that would be an interesting development. you are certainly correct that there are many very fine players, soloist caliber, who are not well known, who are trying to make careers, and can deliver terrific performances...

but concert audiences are by and large a very conservative lot - they want the known quantities, the old standards, the warhorses, etc...it is tough to break thru that collective stasis....
Yes, it is a dilemma. And I certainly am extremely conscious of who I go see. When Thibaudet or Shaham, Bronfman, etc.. come to my neck of the woods, I go out of my way to get there. (I'm really looking forward to seeing Annie Sophie Mutter when she comes to the Pittsburgh Symphony this coming year). And I'm much worse - maybe a complete snob - in CD purchasing. Which orchestras, and which conductors overall, and which orchestras/conductors/labels on select music, etc.

But for large swaths of the market, particularly the regular season-subscription concert series, the mega star salary structure is just not going to be viable in the economic world coming. And this pressure will inevitably force organizations to opt for the lesser known talents. And I'm not merely talking about the violinist who can basically play the tune. I'm saying the many less-known talents who really do have a higher mastery, but whom for the many quirks and vagaries of life, didn't hit the big time. There are alot of them out there, and for a routine friday night season concert, it will just make much more sense. It will be affordable.

The practical economic issues are big. I'm hitting a wall on opera tickets this Summer. I absolutely love going to the Opera, but the price is over my head most the time. I'm not alone.
Cyril Ignatius

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by nut-job » Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:38 am

Heck148 wrote:the point remains - orchestra musicians are most certainly NOT overpaid, for the skills, education, training, practice required for their profession...
the fact that the American people do not seem to value this highly says more about the values of the public than it does about the skills of those in the profession.
My impression is that the excesses are mostly found in the fees of star conductors and performers, perhaps in the members of the most elite orchestras, but not among rank and file orchestral musicians.

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by Heck148 » Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:40 am

Cyril Ignatius wrote: the mega star salary structure is just not going to be viable in the economic world coming. And this pressure will inevitably force organizations to opt for the lesser known talents. And I'm not merely talking about the violinist who can basically play the tune. I'm saying the many less-known talents who really do have a higher mastery, but whom for the many quirks and vagaries of life, didn't hit the big time. There are alot of them out there, and for a routine friday night season concert, it will just make much more sense. It will be affordable.
you very well may be right - and I don't think that it is necessarily bad. there are many unknowns who have great talent, but as you say, for one reason or another, have not hit it big...

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by Cyril Ignatius » Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:49 am

nut-job wrote:
Heck148 wrote:the point remains - orchestra musicians are most certainly NOT overpaid, for the skills, education, training, practice required for their profession...
the fact that the American people do not seem to value this highly says more about the values of the public than it does about the skills of those in the profession.
My impression is that the excesses are mostly found in the fees of star conductors and performers, perhaps in the members of the most elite orchestras, but not among rank and file orchestral musicians.
Well, maybe, but the regular salary structures of some of the orchestras above will not be sustainable, if I'm reading those number right. They are very handsome salaries. But they won't be sustainable. And it is always a hundred times tougher to take from someone what they have been accustomed to then to give them something more. It's going to be a mean and tough process.
Cyril Ignatius

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by DavidRoss » Fri Jun 19, 2009 1:02 pm

Heck148 wrote:as shown by your own figures, far less than doctors, lawyers, financial mgrs, etc...

no matter at what level you discuss it, orchestra musicians are not overpaid, relative to other professions regardless of the "tier"

very few orchestral musicians are earning $100,000/year from their orchestra performance job.
Finally, I daresay there are thousands more who can play a fiddle in tune than can hit .300 against major league pitching.
I daresay that any professional orchestra principal who hit .300 in his musical at-bats [solos] in major orchestra repertoire would not be in the job for very long. 8) :)
You want to compare with those in some of the highest paid professions most valued by society (to put a charitable face on it). I'm comparing with the great majority of occupations, most of which arguably provide far more necessary services. If you want to continue comparing apples and tostadas, that's your prerogative, but it's not going to help you to get a broader perspective on the issue or to understand why most people are not likely to be sympathetic with your claim of undervaluation.
"Most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." ~Leo Tolstoy

"It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character." ~Dale Turner

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by nut-job » Fri Jun 19, 2009 1:34 pm

DavidRoss wrote:
Heck148 wrote:as shown by your own figures, far less than doctors, lawyers, financial mgrs, etc...

no matter at what level you discuss it, orchestra musicians are not overpaid, relative to other professions regardless of the "tier"

very few orchestral musicians are earning $100,000/year from their orchestra performance job.
Finally, I daresay there are thousands more who can play a fiddle in tune than can hit .300 against major league pitching.
I daresay that any professional orchestra principal who hit .300 in his musical at-bats [solos] in major orchestra repertoire would not be in the job for very long. 8) :)
You want to compare with those in some of the highest paid professions most valued by society (to put a charitable face on it). I'm comparing with the great majority of occupations, most of which arguably provide far more necessary services. If you want to continue comparing apples and tostadas, that's your prerogative, but it's not going to help you to get a broader perspective on the issue or to understand why most people are not likely to be sympathetic with your claim of undervaluation.
To some extent we vote with our wallets. How often would I like to go to a concert? Very often. How often do I actually go. Almost never. Last time I was in a concert hall was at least three years ago. Maybe 4 concerts in the last decade. The reason? Can't justify the cost to myself. I just checked the schedule of my nearest orchestra (a fairly reputable ensemble). "Sad" is the word that comes to mind. Infrequent concerts, programs are short (Eine Kleine Nachtmusic + Mahler 4 is a full program?) Repertoire is dull, which at least removes the temptation to pay the exorbitant ticket prices. They'll be gone before long, I suspect. If they finally go over the brink and go bankrupt, I might not even notice.

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by Heck148 » Fri Jun 19, 2009 2:03 pm

nut-job wrote:
My impression is that the excesses are mostly found.... perhaps in the members of the most elite orchestras, but not among rank and file orchestral musicians.
Those pay rates for the top orchestras are not excessive, believe me - the required consistency, accuracy and endurance are formidable...
and US orchestras do not use the co-principal system, as many European orchestras do...many of the top ones now use associates, which helps alot, but the 2nd & 3rd rank orchestras, still major, and very busy, do not as a rule.

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by Heck148 » Fri Jun 19, 2009 2:12 pm

DavidRoss wrote: You want to compare with those in some of the highest paid professions most valued by society....
hey sport - I don't know what your line of work is - but I know that you are overpaid - your pay rate far exceeds your skill and training required for the job -
you should willingly accede to a pay cut, because you are vastly overcompensated...

since you participate in this forum, one may assume that you consider yourself something of a "music lover", yet you would degrade, denigrate, demote the very people that produce the product you claim to love and/or enjoy...maybe at the next concert you attend there will be no orchestra - just a conductor, and a soloist - the soloist can play his/her part, and the conductor can gesture to a bunch of empty chairs...after all, <<those crummy orchestra musicians are all overpaid, who needs 'em??>>

you lay that crap on me?? lay it on yourself as well. if I'm overpaid, then so are you...
admit that you are overpaid, and take a pay cut.

GFYS while you're at it, AH.

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by Cyril Ignatius » Fri Jun 19, 2009 2:18 pm

Heck148 wrote:
DavidRoss wrote: You want to compare with those in some of the highest paid professions most valued by society....
hey sport - I don't know what your line of work is - but I know that you are overpaid - your pay rate far exceeds your skill and training required for the job -
you should willingly accede to a pay cut, because you are vastly overcompensated...

since you participate in this forum, one may assume that you consider yourself something of a "music lover", yet you would degrade, denigrate, demote the very people that produce the product you claim to love and/or enjoy...maybe at the next concert you attend there will be no orchestra - just a conductor, and a soloist - the soloist can play his/her part, and the conductor can gesture to a bunch of empty chairs...after all, <<those crummy orchestra musicians are all overpaid, who needs 'em??>>

you lay that crap on me?? lay it on yourself as well. if I'm overpaid, then so are you...
admit that you are overpaid, and take a pay cut.

GFYS while you're at it, AH.
Heck148, Get yourself some manners! :x
Cyril Ignatius

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by Heck148 » Fri Jun 19, 2009 2:35 pm

if marketability is the primary standard for talent, skill, ability -
then Britney Spears, the Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus, Amy Winehouse, etc, etc are by far the most talented, highly trained, greatest musicians of our time...

that is an extremely dubious premise, to say the least. however if $ is the sole criterion......

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by Seán » Fri Jun 19, 2009 3:29 pm

Oh dear, I was enjoying this thread.
Seán

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by DavidRoss » Fri Jun 19, 2009 7:42 pm

Let's just treat that like a fart in polite company.

As I was saying, according to the figures provided by http://orchestrafacts.org/facts.htm:

Five years ago there were 52 American orchestras employing full-time musicians and paying a living wage. The average minimum salary for the 2003-2004 season for musicians in union orchestras was $57,370. The 75th percentile for salaries in each profession is:

Lawyers $139,130

Doctors >$145,600

Financial managers $106,490

ICSOM musicians approx. $100,000 (Heck left this critical figure for comparison off his copy of the chart)

This compares with an average annual income for all workers at the 75th percentile of $45,760 (based on data from http://www.epi.org/page/-/old/datazone/ ... ts_all.pdf, interpolating 75th percentile wage @ $22/hr in 2004). This means that the average minimum salary for orchestra musicians was slightly more than 25% higher than the 75th percentile of all workers. The 75th percentile of orchestra musicians--$100,000--was more than twice as much as the 75th percentile for all workers--$45,760. And the $57,370 average minimum salary for orchestra musicians was nearly twice as much as the $30,077 average (not minimum) for all workers.

By contrast with average salaries for all workers, compared to which orchestra musicians consistently average roughly twice as much, when compared with such elite high-end earners as financial managers, orchestra musicians earned 94% as much.

The numbers speak for themselves. Swearing at me and impugning me with views that I do not hold and did not express does not alter the facts. I understand that an orchestra musician, especially if he is not employed by one of the top orchestras whose base salaries start at well over $100,000, might feel that he is not fairly compensated. I also know that almost everyone, regardless of occupation, feels exactly the same way, that they are undercompensated.

Give a thirsty man a glass half-full and he is grateful. Give an unthirsty man a glass three-quarters full and he bitches that he's been short-changed.
"Most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." ~Leo Tolstoy

"It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character." ~Dale Turner

"Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either." ~Albert Einstein
"Truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it; but, in the end, there it is." ~Winston Churchill

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by Heck148 » Sat Jun 20, 2009 7:46 am

DavidRoss wrote:

As I was saying, according to the figures provided by
I'm not interested in your statistical attempts at obfuscation.

it is this statement I'm addressing:

dr:
Players in good professional orchestras are very handsomely compensated, unfairly so according to my personal moral calculus,
[emphasis added]


orchestra musicians on ANY level are not overpaid, and you can provide no support for such a contention...
let's leave out the marketing, publicity, media aspects, because we quickly see what a warped picture they provide....same with sports idols...

in terms of what is required to pursue this profession - ie -the physical/intellectual demands - very few human activities are comparable..people who are capable of meeting these demands are NOT overpaid.

very few human endeavors require such a full application of human abilities and potentials as performing music at the professional level - intensely acute hearing, trained breathing, dexterity to the highest degree - mental perception, time/rhythm perception, hand eye-coordination, overall mental/intellectual control, etc - all applied simultaneously to the task at hand.

very few human activities make such demands on our abilities both physical and intellectual. to say that people who are capable of doing this at the professional level are overpaid is idiotic, and indefensible...
I don't know what your profession is, but if it makes similar requirements then you are not overpaid. from your ignorant comments tho, I conclude that no such case exists. if musicians are overpaid, you are overpaid as well.

of course, we know that professional orchestral musicians., at any, level, are not overpaid...you very probably are, however...and you should accept the pay cut you would recommend for those more capable than you.

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by DavidRoss » Sat Jun 20, 2009 9:11 am

Heck148 wrote:I'm not interested in your statistical attempts at obfuscation.
:?: :?: :?: Huh? Again, huh? (1) I'm making no attempt to hide anything, but to reveal the facts. (2) The figures are not "mine" but from http://orchestrafacts.org/, an advocacy site supporting orchestral musicians:
There has been a steady stream of articles about the salaries and working conditions of American orchestral musicians in recent years. Other articles have detailed some of the financial issues facing major orchestras currently. The International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM) is a conference of the American Federation of Musicians and represents the musicians of 52 of the largest American orchestras-nearly all the orchestras that pay a full-time wage. We have compiled the following material in order to assist journalists writing about the issues facing American orchestras.

The last 40 years have been a remarkable time for American orchestras. Since the 1960s, American orchestras have raised the standard worldwide and become among the very best in the world. They have recorded virtually the entire orchestral repertoire and toured the entire world as representatives of America’s highest cultural achievements. The number of orchestras at every level has grown tremendously, and the number of fulltime professional musicians enriching our community has also grown as it has become possible to earn a good living playing music. Orchestras today need the vision and growth that characterized the past four decades so that vision our greatest orchestras can continue to present our highest cultural achievements to the world during a time when it is perhaps more important than ever.
After the emphasis you added in the excerpt posted above (also highlighted in the complete passage quoted below), I see what made you see red. You misread the comment you quoted as if I had said "musicians are overpaid," in spite of clarifying that for you in successive posts:
DavidRoss wrote:Players in good professional orchestras are very handsomely compensated, unfairly so according to my personal moral calculus, but not nearly as egregiously as pro athletes, successful actors, tv personalities, politicians, and other such entertainers. Still, I'm not willing to trust any czar of worker compensation to get it right, so I'll happily let the market decide rather than the bureau of labor standards. :D
After which you said:
Heck148 wrote:no way. if a professional musician ever performed with the same "average" as a baseball or basketball player, he/she wouldn't last more than one concert series -
the amount of training, education, preparation, daily practice/maintnenance of skills- the absolute day-to-day consistency required from professional musicians is not reflected in their pay scales.
And I replied:
DavidRoss wrote:I don't think you appreciate what most other people do, how hard they train and work at it, how many year-round hours they put in, and how comparatively poorly they are compensated. Music is great, I value it, I admire and respect musicians and their training--but the same can be said for many others, and most don't make anywhere near as much, work more hours, and cannot use the same skills to earn significant supplementary income.
...after which you seem not to have been able to read anything I wrote without interpreting it completely wrongly and...well, enough said. Tell you what, Heck: Why don't you come out and work 12-hour shifts riding on the outside of a noisy tomato harvester in 100+ degree heat, clothed like a Persian protester to protect against the constant dust cloud, while culling detritus and bad fruit off a moving conveyor belt, for the sake of a minimum wage? Why don't you try serving as a police officer in a community infested with drug addicts and gang-bangers, never knowing when your life is going to be on the line, for $42,000/year? How about trying to manage a technical development project with millions invested and billions expected, overseeing teams flung all over the globe including prima donna scientists, resentful production managers, quality directors who seem determined to prevent success, controllers constantly squeezing the bottom line, doctors squabbling over clinical study design, lawyers concerned about contract and patent and liability issues, engineers working too many hours and spread too thin, suppliers failing to deliver critical components on time, equipment failures, shipping catastrophes, customs problems, a global thicket of conflicting regulatory requirements, etc etc (not to mention corporate infighting!) and then tell us what that's worth?

I never said that orchestra players are overpaid, never said that they don't work hard at what they do, never said I don't value what they do. In fact I support classical music financially, not just through series subscriptions, but also through charitable donations and financial assistance to young musicians in training. What I said is that in a world full of inequities, compensation for orchestra players seems more than fair to me in comparison to that of many occupations, and that a look at orchestra salaries in relation to other salaries shows that the market values orchestra musicians pretty highly after all, much more so in fact than many people who have very difficult, or dangerous, or demandingly responsible jobs, often with life & death repercussions for split second decisions made under stress.

You are perfectly welcome to express your opinion and have. "It's not easy, it takes training and discipline, and not everyone can do it." I get that. I also get that there's more to the story. I think you would, too, if you were to think about the questions my comments are intended to raise.
"Most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." ~Leo Tolstoy

"It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character." ~Dale Turner

"Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either." ~Albert Einstein
"Truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it; but, in the end, there it is." ~Winston Churchill

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by Heck148 » Sat Jun 20, 2009 3:14 pm

="DavidRoss(1) I'm making no attempt to hide anything, but to reveal the facts.
irrelevant facts
(2) The figures are not "mine"
they are not relevant...at no level can you show that professiona lorchestra musicians are overpaid.
I'm simply not going to accept your obfuscation, and your feeble attempt to relate the skills required to "relative tables of income"...
The number of orchestras at every level has grown tremendously, and the number of fulltime professional musicians enriching our community has also grown as it has become possible to earn a good living playing music.....so that...our greatest orchestras can continue to present our highest cultural achievements to the world during a time when it is perhaps more important than ever.
to which you respond completely in the negative by asserting that these orchestra musicians are overpaid. you are nuts...you are shooting down your own arguments.
DavidRoss wrote:Players in good professional orchestras are very handsomely compensated, unfairly so according to my personal moral calculus,
right, did you, or did you not say it??
DavidRoss wrote:I don't think you appreciate what most other people do,
you have NO CLUE what my work or life experience might be. you make faulty presumptions which further weaken your position.
Music is great, I value it, I admire and respect musicians and their training
except that professional orchestra musicians are overpaid. your hypocrisy quickly protrudes thru the garbled nonsense.
Why don't you come out and work 12-hour shifts riding on the outside of a noisy tomato harvester in 100+ degree heat
how do you know that I haven't done that, or something very similar??
Why don't you try serving as a police officer in a community infested with drug addicts and gang-bangers, never knowing when your life is going to be on the line,
been there, done that. I worked two years as an EMT for a large city ambulance company - city contract, inner-city stuff primarily...I know all about violence, threats, violent psych patients, drunks, drug addicts, murders, assaults, car accidents with pieces of humanity all over the landscape..inner-city riots - everything - all for a few cents over mininimum wage paid at time and a half...
I never said that orchestra players are overpaid,
good gawd, man - you are outright lying!! your quote is posted above.
In fact I support classical music financially, not just through series subscriptions, but also through charitable donations and financial assistance to young musicians in training.
so that you can then bitch that they are overly compensated??!!
a look at orchestra salaries in relation to other salaries shows that the market values orchestra musicians pretty highly after all,
and I consider this to be irrelevant. marketability, usefulness to society are necessarily extremely subjective and will vary greatly from one society to another.

what does not vary is the demands, the skills, talent that are required - and these are extreme. very few other jobs make the demand on human capabilities that are required with musical performance at the professional level - the consistency, accuracy demanded are equalled by very few occupations...I know, of done alot of other jobs...there is no way that people capable of meeting these demands are overcompensated.

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by DavidRoss » Sat Jun 20, 2009 5:34 pm

Okay, Heck, I've long respected and enjoyed your critical opinions re music and performances, and I've tried very hard to continue giving you the benefit of the doubt on this thread, but you've convinced me that you're not playing with a full deck. Good luck and best wishes to you.
"Most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." ~Leo Tolstoy

"It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character." ~Dale Turner

"Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either." ~Albert Einstein
"Truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it; but, in the end, there it is." ~Winston Churchill

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by Heck148 » Sat Jun 20, 2009 8:10 pm

DavidRoss wrote:I've tried very hard to continue giving you the benefit of the doubt on this thread,
no, you posted something stupid, and got called on it...your attempts to back-pedal are futile, you can't put the toothpaste back in the tube...

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by Cyril Ignatius » Sun Jun 21, 2009 10:45 am

Heck148 wrote:
DavidRoss wrote:I've tried very hard to continue giving you the benefit of the doubt on this thread,
no, you posted something stupid, and got called on it...your attempts to back-pedal are futile, you can't put the toothpaste back in the tube...
No Heck148, David Ross has made some very reasonable, well-supported statements and comments about the issues surrounding musical industry salaries in conversation with those of other professions. But your comments are so positively unhinged and rabid that they make your personality difficulties the central challenge to be overcome.
The issues relating to orchestra salaries are very real and will have to be addressed one way or another as we move into a very tough time economically.

No amount of knowledge, passion or conviction exempts anyone from basic norms of civility. And you, Heck 148 need to abide by these norms.
Cyril Ignatius

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by Heck148 » Sun Jun 21, 2009 12:58 pm

Cyril Ignatius wrote: The issues relating to orchestra salaries are very real and will have to be addressed one way or another as we move into a very tough time economically.
I am discussing the actual job, the process of performing music on a professional level - the requirements, the demands it makes upon the performer - which are severe in the extreme, and matched by very few other occupations..I do not accept the criteria of marketability or public usefulness as concrete terms by which to discuss these demands, since such standards are extremely subjective and will vary greatly from one society to another. what does not vary are the demands upon the skills, talents and training of the musician...the demands of performing professionally are the same regardless of where one lives or performs.
And you, Heck 148 need to abide by these norms.
if somebody starts running down my livelihood, spewing garbage that we are overpaid, I reserve every right to refute, and discredit such uninformed claims, in any fashion in which I choose..if you don't like it, then skip my postings...

if the board moderators do not approve, they are perfectly free to ban me from the forum.

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by Cyril Ignatius » Sun Jun 21, 2009 1:24 pm

Heck148 wrote:
Cyril Ignatius wrote: The issues relating to orchestra salaries are very real and will have to be addressed one way or another as we move into a very tough time economically.
I am discussing the actual job, the process of performing music on a professional level - the requirements, the demands it makes upon the performer - which are severe in the extreme, and matched by very few other occupations..I do not accept the criteria of marketability or public usefulness as concrete terms by which to discuss these demands, since such standards are extremely subjective and will vary greatly from one society to another. what does not vary are the demands upon the skills, talents and training of the musician...the demands of performing professionally are the same regardless of where one lives or performs.
And you, Heck 148 need to abide by these norms.
if somebody starts running down my livelihood, spewing garbage that we are overpaid, I reserve every right to refute, and discredit such uninformed claims, in any fashion in which I choose..if you don't like it, then skip my postings...

if the board moderators do not approve, they are perfectly free to ban me from the forum.

Nobody's going to run you from the site. But your comments still are inappropriate and obnoxious.
Cyril Ignatius

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by Heck148 » Sun Jun 21, 2009 2:01 pm

Cyril Ignatius wrote: Nobody's going to run you from the site. But your comments still are inappropriate and obnoxious.
they can if they want. if you don't like my comments, then don't read them.

Chalkperson
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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by Chalkperson » Sun Jun 21, 2009 3:31 pm

I'm with you, Heck, you were merely expressing your frustration and opinion, there's nothing wrong in that...
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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by Beckmesser » Sun Jun 21, 2009 4:39 pm

The fundamental problem for orchestra musicians is that they can't justify higher salaries the way other workers do -- by returning greater value to the employer -- either through increased productivity or by taking on assignments requiring greater skill, expertise, or responsibility. It still takes the same number of musicians to perform a Mahler symphony as it did when Mahler was alive. Orchestras could raise ticket prices to help fund salary increases but there is the risk that they will drive away audience members who can no longer afford them. The audience for classical music is finite so the problem will not be solved by building larger concert halls.

From what little I know of orchestral salaries I think that musicians in the major orchestras are adequately compensated but I suspect that players in the "minor leagues" are hardly getting rich.

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by Heck148 » Sun Jun 21, 2009 7:08 pm

Beckmesser wrote:The fundamental problem for orchestra musicians is that they can't justify higher salaries the way other workers do -- by returning greater value to the employer
and that is the situation with arts organizations generally [performing arts groups, museums, etc]- there is not any definitive "bottom line" to indicate whether the company is doing well or not...
increase in performance quality, audience enthusiasm are not readily defined by a single number...ticket sales tell only a part of the story...
ticket sales are usually less than 50% of an orchestra's income....individual and corporate contributions are extremely important, grant awards may be important also.
when a new music director takes charge, it can take several seasond before the trend becomes apparent.

an orchestra might present all "pops" programs, all children's concerts, or all familiar old warhorses and show hgh ticket sales - for awhile, but the orchestra will deteriorate in quality, the core audience will drift away, and the overall product quality will decline...
but this is not represented by any single "bottom line" number- as with a manufacturing business for example..
all arts organzations deal with this vagueness regarding finishing in the red or in the black...
From what little I know of orchestral salaries I think that musicians in the major orchestras are adequately compensated but I suspect that players in the "minor leagues" are hardly getting rich.
you are pretty much right on the $. :) 8)

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by Heck148 » Sun Jun 21, 2009 7:16 pm

Chalkperson wrote:I'm with you, Heck, you were merely expressing your frustration and opinion, there's nothing wrong in that...
thanx Chalkie - if people only knew how many times this battle has been fought out...and it's an ongoing fight...

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by Corlyss_D » Sun Jun 21, 2009 7:48 pm

Heck148 wrote:if the board moderators do not approve, they are perfectly free to ban me from the forum.
I don't see any problem here. As you were . . . :D
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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by Auntie Lynn » Sun Jun 21, 2009 9:07 pm

This just drives me nutso! The 49'ers, the Warriors, the J'ints, the A's, the Raiders - you name it - cannot get one foot in front of the other - yet they bawl and cry and kvetch and threaten to move away (goodbye and good riddance), while the Opera, Symphony and Ballet who are winning accolades, awards, Grammys, etc.) are threatened with civic budget cuts (read: hotel tax, etc.)

Gotta take care of all those homeless and illegals who flood in here to get on our general assistance. We can take care of our homeless, etc. It's the homeless and druggies from Ypsilanti, Newport News, Bayonne and Punxatawny who suck up our resources - most of which is paid by the property owner...

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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by Cyril Ignatius » Mon Jun 22, 2009 9:52 am

Auntie Lynn wrote:This just drives me nutso! The 49'ers, the Warriors, the J'ints, the A's, the Raiders - you name it - cannot get one foot in front of the other - yet they bawl and cry and kvetch and threaten to move away (goodbye and good riddance), while the Opera, Symphony and Ballet who are winning accolades, awards, Grammys, etc.) are threatened with civic budget cuts (read: hotel tax, etc.)

Gotta take care of all those homeless and illegals who flood in here to get on our general assistance. We can take care of our homeless, etc. It's the homeless and druggies from Ypsilanti, Newport News, Bayonne and Punxatawny who suck up our resources - most of which is paid by the property owner...
At the larger level, this backdrop is all too real. For all of our society's innovation and accomplishment, there has often been a real deficit in the arts. Even deTocqueville's Democracy in America identified this problem early on. The amount of money that high schools and colleges drop on football alone is mind-boggling. And we could go further back and look at how often parents shell out big chunks of money for their kids sports camps and so forth, and wonder what might happen if some of that money were redirected toward introducing these kids to Chopin and Beethoven.
Cyril Ignatius

Heck148
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Re: Money, money, money or Conductors vs. Footballers

Post by Heck148 » Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:17 am

Cyril Ignatius wrote: we could go further back and look at how often parents shell out big chunks of money for their kids sports camps and so forth, and wonder what might happen if some of that money were redirected toward introducing these kids to Chopin and Beethoven.
the gutting, and cutting of music programs in US public schools is a very discouraging and negative trend, IMO.
My orchestra does a huge educational program, quite innovative. Among other activities we send small groups into the schools to present classical/concert music programs - instrument demos, performance, audience participation, listening games, etc. these small programs are all preludes to the big concerts in the Spring, in which kids from all over are bussed into the performance center for the full orchestra program.
this program is very successful and extremely well-received, but it is hampered by the incessant cuts to school music and instrumental programs...

children are fascinated by instruments and performing groups....the questions, curiosity, interest we see at every school indicate a real thirst, a desire to participate in musical performance...
yet these programs are cut in so many schools....."every child left behind", standardized testing, "teaching the basics" etc, etc, takes precedence....

I also support interscholastic sports - and these have been hit too - student fees, parent booster groups, are providing more and more support for these activities [which are so valuable to students' experience and education] as school funding diminishes...

the educational value of group/individual participation is immeasurable, whether it be in music, sports, drama, etc - the skills, commitments and disciplines to be learned are invaluable to each students' future endeavors...
yet - cut, cut , cut is the word of the day - :( :x

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