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How much do the famous violinists earn?

Violinists: Recordings and Performances: How much money do the most famous classical violinsoloists earn for every average concert?

From Andreas Lantz
Posted March 12, 2012 at 10:20 PM

I haven´t seen any recent numbers about how much people like for instance Perlman earn for every performance.

Anybody knows?

I know that Mutter used to be the highest paid classical violinist but I have no idea if that is still the case.

From Bruno Lunkes
Posted on March 13, 2012 at 01:40 AM
Well, I guess they earn enough money to be able to afford a U$30k watch - Joshua Bell. But it must be very variant! For example, when Perlman came to Brazil, the cheapest ticket was about 130 USD. And the place had over 1000 sits!
From Stephen Brivati
Posted on March 13, 2012 at 03:49 AM
Greetings,
yes, but it is not that simple. A few years ago Ilya Gringolts gave a breakdown of what happened to an apparently large fee for the benifit of this site. Once one begins deductiong things like agency fees, travelling, instrument insurance and maintenance, pianist fee (?) etc.etc. then the perspective is somewhat diffenret. Not thta the slary is to be sneezed at, but its certainly not a truly glamourous super salary job.
Cheers,
Buri
From Andreas Lantz
Posted on March 13, 2012 at 07:17 AM
Bruno: It must be far from sold out then I guess or? When Hilary Hahn played in town less then 50% of the seats where taken.

Stephen: I can imagine that, It is the same for many popartists as well, many of them have managers and record labels that take all the money. Hardly as glamorous and wellpaid as you might think. :(

From John Dukes
Posted on March 13, 2012 at 12:59 PM
Both Hahn and Perlman have come to Charlottesville VA and both times the shows were pretty much sold out. For Perlman, most of the seats were $250 bucks, but pretty good ones were $75. For Hahn most were $75.
From Raphael Klayman
Posted on March 13, 2012 at 01:21 PM
Going back more than several years, I heard that Perlman earned as much as $60,000 per concert, and that Yo Yo Ma topped every classical instrumenalist with $80,000 per concert!! No matter what their deductions, that still leaves a lot of chicken cutlet in the fridge!

I also heard that after the world-wide financial crunch in 2008, most soloists were asked to take a fee cut - and rightly so.

In this connection, I might recommend 2 books on the classical music business: "Mozart in the Jungle" by Blair Tindal and "Who Killed Classical Music?" by Norman Lebrecht (Actually, the butler did it.)

Recently a performing arts orginization offered to engage me for a recital, but had an odd practice of paying in gum - and sugar-free gum on top of that. If it had been regular gum I might have considered it.

From Andreas Lantz
Posted on March 13, 2012 at 01:24 PM
John: Was that recently? Hahn hasn´t been famous for more then a couple of years so she hardly played for sold out halls everywhere.
From John Dukes
Posted on March 13, 2012 at 01:40 PM
It was on October 19. And I edited my above comment. I meant to say pretty much sold out. Sorry:) However, there were very few empty seats available. It could be the shows were like that because we rarely have world famous violinist around here:(
From Andreas Lantz
Posted on March 13, 2012 at 01:55 PM
John: We rarely have the greatest violinist here in Gothenburg either. It´s not hard to understand since so few people are willing to go to classical concerts. I don´t think that even Perlman would sell out our concert hall. There were propably more then 600 seats left when Hahn played here in 07.
From elise stanley
Posted on March 13, 2012 at 02:33 PM
[heysan Andreas; jag var fodes i Goteborg!] When I'm famous I'm definitely putting in on my concert tour schedule every year. Promise. :)
From Peter Charles
Posted on March 13, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Oh well, if it's any comfort, I had a very boring week on tour in Gothenburg. Probably my fault.
From John Dukes
Posted on March 13, 2012 at 02:55 PM
If there were 600 empty seats at the Paramount Theater, I'm pretty sure there would have been no one there:)
From Lisa Van Sickle
Posted on March 13, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Peter, it would have been much more fun that week if Elise had been in town.
From steven su
Posted on March 13, 2012 at 03:32 PM
This is kinda sad...a lotta tone deaf mainstream artists are earning like 300,000/concert and classical only earns top 80,000/concert. just saying ._.
From Hendrik Hak
Posted on March 13, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Last gig in a local cafe got us 50 from the owner and 140 from the patrons. And that playing mostly classical music.
From Peter Charles
Posted on March 13, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Lisa - this was back in 1984 - nearly 30 years ago - so I would have been accused of influencing a minor!! But a bit later and it would have been fun ...
From Peter Charles
Posted on March 13, 2012 at 03:37 PM
"Last gig in a local cafe got us 50 from the owner and 140 from the patrons. And that playing mostly classical music."

Was that cents, pence or shillings? (Or dimes or nickels?) (wink) (If it was Euros I'm coming over ...)

From Andreas Lantz
Posted on March 13, 2012 at 04:04 PM
"I heard that Perlman earned as much as $60,000 per concert, and that Yo Yo Ma topped every classical instrumenalist with $80,000 per concert!!"

Really!!? For solorecitals? was this recently?

I can only imagine them playing the biggest concerthalls in the US, Japan or Germany perhaps if they demand that much money.

From Trevor Jennings
Posted on March 13, 2012 at 05:11 PM
"tone deaf mainstream artists"
I wonder how many of them are making a living only by courtesy of the likes of AutoTune?
From Bruno Lunkes
Posted on March 13, 2012 at 05:32 PM
Andreas: Actually the tickets were sold out in less than a week! For what I know this was both the first and last time he came to Brazil.
From Lisa Van Sickle
Posted on March 13, 2012 at 05:48 PM
YoYo Ma was here a few years ago doing a solo recital. It WAS a fundraiser for a local orchestra, but the tickets were $250 each, and it was held at the opera. That means about 2100 seats, outdoors. I wasn't sure it was the best venue for solo or chamber works. Not to mention that the tickets were a little rich for my blood.

Maybe if they added fireworks, roadies, groupies, a tower of amps, a T-shirt concession, and a few other things to the show these classical dweebs could get higher fees.

From Tom Holzman
Posted on March 13, 2012 at 07:01 PM
If I remember correctly from Blair Tindall's book, she was quite scandalized by how much Perlman made per concert compared to his accompanist, Sam Sanders. I think it was something like $30000 vs. $1000 or $2000.
From Andrew Sords
Posted on March 13, 2012 at 09:01 PM
John,

I was at the Perlman show in Charlottesville last April. Sox.encores if I am remembering correctly...:)

These artists don't make the same fee for every concert, BTW. Some smaller venues make offers that the artist will accept (to pay for their Strad and Manhattan pad...)

From John Dukes
Posted on March 13, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Hi Mr. Sords, I attended your concert with the Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra earlier on in that day. I believe you played the Tchaikovsky violin concerto. That was a good day of concerts for me:) The whole time Perlman was playing, I was hoping that he would play Bazzini's Dance of the Goblins.
I was ecstatic when, after he came back out all those times, he said he would play it. That will probably remain the best concert of my life.
From Paul Deck
Posted on March 14, 2012 at 12:03 AM
There was an essay a while back to the effect that Anne-Sophie Mutter had priced herself out of London:

http://www.scena.org/columns/lebrecht/051005-NL-mutter.html

From Hendrik Hak
Posted on March 14, 2012 at 12:06 AM
Peter, that's in beaver pelts, old Canadian currency.
Actually it's Canadian dollars and with the trouble in the Middle East the price for crude oil keeps going up and so is our dollar. So maybe you should come over for some gigs here . Would love to have you , we'll have a blast.
From Trevor Jennings
Posted on March 14, 2012 at 01:25 AM
Arising out of this discussion one may wonder whether it is usual for for musicians (not just the famous) to do pro bono work. I know that lawyers and similar professionals do it, the pro bono work of some law firms perhaps being 5% of their workload.
From Stephen Brivati
Posted on March 14, 2012 at 01:33 AM
Greetings,
my cat is very `pro-bono`
Cheers,
Buri
From Peter Charles
Posted on March 14, 2012 at 10:14 AM
Paul -

http://www.scena.org/columns/lebrecht/051005-NL-mutter.html

Interesting stuff!! I remember the said lady coming down to Cardiff to play the Mendelssohn concerto many years ago, when I was deputising. The story was that she hired a London taxi and said "take me to the BBC in Cardiff" - I bet that fare was a whopper! (If I'd known I would have got a lift with her as long as she paid ...)

I don't normally think much of what Norman L spouts, but on this occasion it was to the point.

I am a bit amazed though because for once I agree with NL as I personally find her performances rather ... strange and boring!


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