Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 28

Thread: Are conductors overpaid?

  1. #1
    Junior Member 52paul's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Wimbledon, UK
    Posts
    19
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Are conductors overpaid?

    Interesting article "The Myth of the Conductor" in yesterday's Guardian (UK) about the high fees paid to conductors
    In London, the resident conductor for a major symphony orchestra receives £25,000 per concert. Rank-and-file players, meanwhile, typically earn £107 for a rehearsal and concert. Conductors jostle with one another for enormous salaries. And while it might be argued that bigger names sell more seats, it is inconceivable that any such increase could justify these huge rewards.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisf...uctors-pay-cut

    So are they next in line for attack after the bankers?!

  2. #2
    Banned
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Oxford, UK
    Posts
    2,846
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    7

    Default

    There are too many people in this world who receive unjustifiable amounts of money. There are too many people who then go on to use it in ridiculous ways. Especially when people who would otherwise die could benefit from it. Conductors are not exempt from this and I will not defend them, but until human psychology can be fixed in such a manner that people care less about money and status symbols, I'd rather that those who want to complain go after footballers and celebrities, as opposed to people who wish to create experiences that affect humans on a fundamental level.

  3. #3
    Senior Member purple99's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    London, UK
    Posts
    176
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I like the idea, floated in the article, of orchestral players simply refusing to play for these overpaid egoists until they give a portion of their inflated fee away - say, back to the orchestral trust or to a charity, e.g. to help poor kids buy an instrument/music lessons.

    The London Symphony Orchestra, for example, has a long tradition of union organisation and militancy. Let them take the lead. After all, they did sack Elgar... twice! Once some leadership's shown the other major orchestras would follow suit and greedy conductors would be forced to think twice before trousering great wads of cash.

  4. #4
    Senior Member StlukesguildOhio's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    7,496
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    9

    Default

    Of course you might ask yourself how many CDs you have purchased based upon the performance of the second violinist or lead clarinet vs how many based upon the conductor involved. I agree with Polednice that there are far too many people who make far too much money in relation to the worth of their labors and that pop stars, celebrities, sports stars, corporate lawyers, CEO's, bank presidents, and many others rank far above conductors in this.

  5. #5
    Senior Member World Violist's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    3,335
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    10

    Default

    Maybe it's that everybody else in the world is underpaid...?
    You get a frog in your throat, you sound hoarse.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    448
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Provided conductor fees are the result of market forces, and are not determined by some State controlled pay-determining authority, I don't see that it makes any difference what these people are paid. In any event we are probably only talking about a small number of conductors who earn such fantastic salaries. They must be considered worth their fees otherwise somebody else would be chosen to do the job.

    More broadly, what the economically illiterate don't understand is that in most Western societies rare skills which the public admire are normally rewarded at very high rates. It happens in many walks of life: brain surgeons, biologists, accountants, tv presenters, footballers, tennis stars, you name it. It is therefore plain stupid to pick on conductors as if they're some highly special breed where the best among them don't deserve to benefit from their scarce skills as in other professions.

    As for the suggestion that if only these top conductors could be persuaded to accept less pay then some poor trumpeter in the orchestra could be paid more, or funds could be diverted to enable a bunch of local musical yobs to acquire musical instruments, this is typical Labourite moonshine economics based on the fallacious "lump of money" argument. It's like suggesting that if the very top Premier Division football stars weren't paid huge salaries (eg to enable them to buy Ferraris etc) then the fans could get into a match cheaper, or the ground staff could be be paid more, etc. It's uttter rubbish because if the top stars weren't paid such high fees they would go elsewhere and the whole argument evaporates.

  7. #7
    Senior Member StlukesguildOhio's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    7,496
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    9

    Default

    Brain surgeons... surgeons in general... may certainly be worth their salaries... but TV presenters, athletes, pop stars, certain CEOs? Supply and Demand and its impact upon salaries has rarely ever had anything to do with the real merit of services. Do we really imagine that the ability to throw a ball into a net or to read a news story from a teleprompter is some great achievement essential to the betterment of humanity? Is the basketball player who earns $30,000,000 a year really worth 200 doctors or 500 teachers? Or rather... is the teacher's contributions to society only worth one-five-hundredth of what the guy who can throw the ball through a net is worth? Obviously, salaries have little or nothing to do with what a given skill or services is worth, and far more to do with the perception and what the individual can get away with demanding. In many cases it has far more to do with celebrity and the cult of personality than it does with talent. Surely there are thousands if not tens of thousands of young, attractive people who can sing as well as (or far better) than Madonna or Britney Spears. Surely a great number of intelligent human beings with but a little practice could read the news off a teleprompter as well as any anchorman. It isn't the skill that is being rewarded... but the personality. The audience is comfortable with this mediocre singer or anchor or TV personality and they draw a given audience. As a result the TV networks, film industry, or music companies are willing to pay exorbitant salaries to retain their services. The most questionable salaries must be that of certain CEOs who have negotiated salaries equivalent to that of thousands of employees... even far beyond that of employees quite essential to the success of the companies. We have recently seen endless examples of top executives continuing to receive such obscene compensation... even when their leadership skills have proven less-than-capable or even quite incompetent. We have seen the recent instances of top executives still drawing large bonuses in spite of the corporation's bankruptcy proceedings and government bailouts upon the public dollar. Support of unregulated capitalism is just as naive and economically illiterate as socialist attempts to socially control the creation and flow of wealth.

  8. Likes Larkenfield liked this post
  9. #8
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    India
    Posts
    40
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    You know something is wrong when people talk more about what dress these pop stars wear or how they look, rather than what they do. And I think, compared to all these actors, pop stars and CEO's, conductors seem to be much much more okay in my books.

  10. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    217
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    For all their huge salaries, it is hard to say what difference the conductor really makes to the playing of music

    *Stops reading*

    This person obviously doesn't know what she is talking about.

  11. #10
    Senior Member Rasa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    1,246
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    While 25000 for one concert is exorbitant, I don't oppose the idea of conductors being payd more then the instrumentists. After all, the conductor's job is the hardest on many levels:

    They are required to have an all-encompassing knowledge of the music they're conducting, and not only of the piece itself, but a vast general musical theory knowledge.
    They also take on a lot more responsability then the playing members of the orchestra. If a concert fails, the conductor will be blamed.

    Really great conductors are exceptional people, and exceptional people merit exceptional rewards provided they deliver content.

  12. Likes Larkenfield liked this post
  13. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    448
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by StlukesguildOhio View Post
    Brain surgeons... surgeons in general... may certainly be worth their salaries... but TV presenters, athletes, pop stars, certain CEOs? .....Support of unregulated capitalism is just as naive and economically illiterate as socialist attempts to socially control the creation and flow of wealth.
    So then let me ask if you were to become in charge of the remuneration committee for the London orchestra that reputedly has paid hitherto £25 k per performance to one of its conductors:

    (i) What amount would you set in future that you considered fair?

    (ii) How would you determine this amount?

    (iii) What would you do if the conductor thought the amount too low, pointed two fingers at you and moved elsewhere?

    PS: no references to Plato, Dickens, Caravaggio please.

  14. #12
    Senior Member handlebar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Vancouver,Washington USA
    Posts
    865
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Capitalism at it's best. Whatever the market can support. Yes, it is obscene that some men and women command very high prices for their jobs. A sports star making 200 million dollars over 5 years for playing a kids game,now that is obscene. But that's the way humans are and it will never change.

    Should a cap be put on how much a person makes in a society? I don't think so. Then we are all limited in how we grow and prosper according to the dictates of the State and government.

    The government already involves itself enough in my life. I don't need more of that.

    So if people are willing to pay high ticket prices to see the Rattles,Abbados et al of the world then let them. As long as the State does not pay tax dollars to them.

    Jim

  15. #13
    Senior Member StlukesguildOhio's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    7,496
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    9

    Default

    So then let me ask if you were to become in charge of the remuneration committee for the London orchestra that reputedly has paid hitherto £25 k per performance to one of its conductors:

    (i) What amount would you set in future that you considered fair?

    (ii) How would you determine this amount?

    (iii) What would you do if the conductor thought the amount too low, pointed two fingers at you and moved elsewhere?


    What's fair and what is reality in our current economy have no relationship. Personally, I have no problem with what a conductor such as Rattle, Gardiner, Salonen, etc... is earning. In no way does it seem exorbitant considering the challenges of the job, the scarcity of the skills on the level of which we are speaking, etc... $100 million for an athlete over 5 years, or $50 million a year for a less-than-mediocre singer pop star or actor? I'd he no problem with telling them to go elsewhere (and you can probably guess where)... I don't think we'd lose out much if Madonna stopped recording or Tom Cruise made no more films... but obviously there are others of another mind. If they are willing to foot the obscene salaries I have no problem. Where the problem arises in when public money is utilized to subsidize such salaries... as in the case of many sports stars where the cities subsidize the costs through tax abatement or other means as a result of of a misguided belief that a professional sport's team is essential to a city's survival/reputation. I doubt New York would collapse into obscurity without the Yankees or Jets. Its also hard to believe that the CEOs of corporations such as GM are worth their astronomical salaries. My guess is that even the most inept MBA could have driven the company in bankruptcy equally well. The idea of continuing to pay such salaries as well as bonuses after borrowing public money from the government is not merely questionable... it is simply criminal.

  16. #14
    Senior Member Lukecash12's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    2,643
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    So then let me ask if you were to become in charge of the remuneration committee for the London orchestra that reputedly has paid hitherto £25 k per performance to one of its conductors:

    (i) What amount would you set in future that you considered fair?

    (ii) How would you determine this amount?

    (iii) What would you do if the conductor thought the amount too low, pointed two fingers at you and moved elsewhere?

    What's fair and what is reality in our current economy have no relationship. Personally, I have no problem with what a conductor such as Rattle, Gardiner, Salonen, etc... is earning. In no way does it seem exorbitant considering the challenges of the job, the scarcity of the skills on the level of which we are speaking, etc... $100 million for an athlete over 5 years, or $50 million a year for a less-than-mediocre singer pop star or actor? I'd he no problem with telling them to go elsewhere (and you can probably guess where)... I don't think we'd lose out much if Madonna stopped recording or Tom Cruise made no more films... but obviously there are others of another mind. If they are willing to foot the obscene salaries I have no problem. Where the problem arises in when public money is utilized to subsidize such salaries... as in the case of many sports stars where the cities subsidize the costs through tax abatement or other means as a result of of a misguided belief that a professional sport's team is essential to a city's survival/reputation. I doubt New York would collapse into obscurity without the Yankees or Jets. Its also hard to believe that the CEOs of corporations such as GM are worth their astronomical salaries. My guess is that even the most inept MBA could have driven the company in bankruptcy equally well. The idea of continuing to pay such salaries as well as bonuses after borrowing public money from the government is not merely questionable... it is simply criminal.
    I couldn't even try to agree more. Well said...
    There is no wealth like knowledge, no poverty like ignorance.
    Nahj ul-Balāgha by Ali bin Abu-Talib

  17. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    9,729
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    The fact is that 25000 pounds for one concert is too much. Compare this to the money earned by the great composers, and you'll get my drift. There are so many examples. Like Berlioz couldn't earn a living from music, he was only given guest conductorships, he had to earn his living from musical journalism. He was only recognised with a Legion of Honour at the very end, but I doubt this made much difference to him financially. So when you compare the lives of these jet setting conductors to those of the composers whose works they perform, there is a huge, unjustifiable discrepancy. Not to mention the players in the orchestras which they conduct...

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Greatest conductors
    By Cortision in forum Conductors & Conducting
    Replies: 113
    Last Post: Jul-11-2017, 01:49
  2. Living Conductors 'Survivor' Final
    By Chi_townPhilly in forum Classical Music Discussion
    Replies: 282
    Last Post: Jul-19-2009, 06:43
  3. Living Conductors Game: Euro
    By Chi_townPhilly in forum Classical Music Discussion Polls
    Replies: 204
    Last Post: Mar-11-2009, 21:33
  4. Entertaining conductors
    By Rondo in forum Community Forum
    Replies: 32
    Last Post: Feb-18-2009, 23:54
  5. What's in the men conductors that women can't do?
    By music20 in forum Voice and Choir
    Replies: 35
    Last Post: Dec-16-2007, 04:28

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •