wages for monthly/yearly violinest job....anyone have any idea at all?!

November 11, 2007 at 03:35 AM · i was trying to find information on an esimate or estimated guess of around how much a Pro. violinest gets paid every month/year. i was hopeful that someone would be capeable of helping me...

Replies (25)

November 11, 2007 at 04:17 AM · Oh gosh, it varies so much...

A famous soloist who releases cds and tours regularly makes a decent amount of money.

A 1st violinist in a famous orchestra such as New York Philharmonic or Los Angeles Phil makes a decent living as well.

But, it varies so much--like $10 a year to $1,000,000 a year.

I am around the $200 a year mark, which is way more than last year. :0)

November 11, 2007 at 02:02 PM · Most section violinists in major American orchestras, such as New York, make between $75,000 and $125,000 per year. European orchestras may pay somewhat less but offer additional benefits.

November 11, 2007 at 02:30 PM · Over at adaptistration.com, Drew McManus has something called "Compensation Reports". That should answer a lot of salary questions you have!

November 12, 2007 at 03:24 AM · I read somewhere that the base salary in Chicago has been upped to $143,000 per year. Amazing!

November 12, 2007 at 06:30 AM · Especially when you consider it's not really a year. Best job in America.

November 12, 2007 at 05:42 PM · In the uk ,I think the going rate for rank and file players starts at about 26,000 pounds depending on the orchestra.

November 12, 2007 at 06:08 PM · It's actually a really interesting concept... how much a violinist (or musician) can make in a year.

A great job in a top-tier full time orchestra: $80,000 or more

A per-service job in an orchestra: variable, but maybe $1000-$2000 a month

Gigs (playing weddings, parties, events with a quartet or something): Again, it's quite variable depending on the area. Here in DC, you can easily get $200-$250 for playing a wedding ceremony, or $150 an hour playing for a black-tie party or event. Gigs are almost more about who you know and who can connect you to other people than your credentials.

Having a private studio: Well, I guess depending on your reputation/credentials you could get anywhere from $30/hour to $70-$100/hour if you're a great, reputable teacher. So assuming you get around $40 an hour and have 15 students a week, you get $2400/month, or around $28,000 a year.

Teaching music in a public school: depends on the school district and your credentials (you generally get more if you have a master's in addition to a bachelor's), but in MD you can get around $42,000/year with just a bachelor's and no experience.

It's a really interesting profession! Many violinists play in orchestras, play gigs, and teach privately to earn a decent living income. But, considering that each of these are part-time jobs (if you have an orchestra job, you're obviously not rehearsing and/or performing 8 hours a day, 5 days a week!) it's not so bad. The only thing that can prove difficult being a "working musician" is that you don't work the usual 9-5 days, but you do work a lot of nights and weekends, sometimes 7 days a week for a few hours a day.

November 12, 2007 at 07:24 PM · There are (I believe) 8 orchestras in the US with a base pay of over $100,000 a year; NYPhil, Boston, Cleveland, San Fran, LA, Philly, Chicago, and the Met. Those, for a fact, pay over 100k a year, minimum.

There's a few like Detroit, Seattle, Pittsburg, and Houston which are just a bit under that (low 80s to upper 90s). In fact, I think Detroit and Pittsburg will be nearing 100k soon, if Pittsburg doesn't pay that much already. Detroit has a new contract and I recall that the base pay is pretty high, and in a major city with incredibly cheap real estate.

November 12, 2007 at 09:07 PM · It's kind of basic knowledge because you hear of it pretty often... there's also websites which will tell you that, but salaries aren't very hard to find (I don't remember which one it is). In fact, sometimes they were posted on violinist.com. But the orchestras I listed pay base salaries starting in the low 100s. NY Phil and Chicago, I've heard, are going up to the 140s by 2010 I believe.

November 12, 2007 at 09:15 PM · Detroit is already over 100k. Read about that a couple of months ago. It's about 104,000 or somewhere near that.

November 12, 2007 at 09:14 PM · Well, most of the information I supplied was based on either personal experience, or the experience of my friends and colleagues. I'm currently attending graduate school just outside of DC, and I'm what I like to call a "halfway working violinist." I have a part-time orchestra gig (we rehearse once a week and have concerts roughly once a month, and I get paid a "per-service" rate), I teach lessons (right around 10 students), plus I do other side jobs (weddings, etc). So I think I have a reasonably decent knowledge of how much a violinist around DC can expect to get paid, which is probably about the same, or a little higher than one can expect in most other places. But, I'm still using student loans to supplement my income so I don't starve to death while I'm still in school.

Orchestra salaries (both full-time and per-service) are generally really easy to find, too. Most orchestras will post salaries on their audition fliers or straight on the website when they are holding auditions.

The salaries of public school teachers are available really easily online, you just have to go to the website of a school district and find a pay chart. Plus, I have quite a few friends who are music teachers all over the country (offhand I can think of my friends who teach in public schools in Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, all over the east coast).

November 16, 2007 at 12:24 PM · Players in the States are lucky!

In the UK not one rank and file musician would make $100K.......

And last time I heard the London Symphony Orchestra they sounded rather good!!!!!!

November 16, 2007 at 02:23 PM · I´m very happy to hear about the sallaries that the American violinists get.

I heard that many American pro-orchestras have significant financial problems these days.

No I know that it´s not like that at all since they can afford to pay great sallaries.

November 16, 2007 at 02:47 PM · "Especially when you consider it's not really a year. Best job in America."

??? The major orchestra jobs are all 52-week positions. It's as a much of a year as any other full-time position.

November 16, 2007 at 10:20 PM · My little group of 16 in Frettless are just happy if we make enough to cover the beer tab!

December 7, 2007 at 09:39 AM · "There are (I believe) 8 orchestras in the US with a base pay of over $100,000 a year; NYPhil, Boston, Cleveland, San Fran, LA, Philly, Chicago, and the Met. Those, for a fact, pay over 100k a year, minimum."

Amazing that they can pay so much

As far as I know the crowds are not very significant in the US, if you don´t have a famous soloist (Perlman, Bell etc.)

remarkable that the sallaries can be so much higher then most countries in europe

Maybe Bill Gates is giving a helping hand! lol.

December 7, 2007 at 02:25 PM · Rochester Philharmonic Orch, which is a GREAT orchestra in a small city starts regular players at something under $40,000. PS teachers start higher hereabouts, and their pay goes up more regularly than with most orchestras, I think. However, the orch.is solvent, has a solid, innovative and growing outreach program, is building a "foundation", and is RECORDING. Everybody should buy their (2006? 2007?) award-winning Gershwin CD. Sue

December 7, 2007 at 02:29 PM · Even players in top orchestras work outside the orchestra. Most have private studios, and are on faculties at summer music festivals. If you're not in one of those (NY, Chicago, Berlin, etc) your income can be as low as $25,000 sadly.

If you're a freelance violinist in NY you can expect to play in several 'pick-up' orchestras, teach, and play event gigs.

Also be aware that certain times of year are more profittable than others. The holiday season is filled with concert opportunities, while maybe January or July you sit twittling your thumbs.

December 7, 2007 at 05:40 PM · Andreas, I think you have a pretty bad idea of the scene in the US. Someone told you that concerts aren't well attended, well, whoever told you that hasn't been to any of the orchestras we're talking about.

Concerts are pretty much full every single time I go, and it's like that everywhere. Don't believe all the hype that Europe is better. It really isnt.

December 7, 2007 at 06:07 PM · "Concerts are pretty much full every single time I go, and it's like that everywhere. Don't believe all the hype that Europe is better. It really isnt. "

I heard from one American guy about significant financial problem for classical music in the US and that no young people want see classical music live these days

maybe it´s like that only where he lives

December 7, 2007 at 06:50 PM · Although I wish Pieter were right, he has an overly-rosy view of classical music in the US. Ticket sales may be brisk in some areas, like NYC, but in most areas of the country, classical music is a difficult sell. Most orchestras cannot rely on ticket sales, but only exist due to the generosity of wealthy patrons and corporate largess. The industry as a whole relies on soft money and will likely never pay its way.

December 7, 2007 at 07:58 PM · "Although I wish Pieter were right, he has an overly-rosy view of classical music in the US. Ticket sales may be brisk in some areas, like NYC"

I heard by and large the same.

The best places in Europe (like for instance Russia) seems to have a lot better ticket sales then the US in general.

Still the musicians get paid a lot less, Maybe the tickets are a lot more expensive in the US.

The declining albumsales is a remarkable problem for classical music everywhere I guess.

Piracy is a lot more significant problem in Europe (except UK) then in the US actually.

December 7, 2007 at 09:20 PM · Pieter,

You are mostly right. The pay for American orchestra members is generally better, the benefits are cushy, and you have a long season. However, the governments in the European nations financially support the orchestras in a much bigger way than the US government probably ever will. The city of Berlin has a larger arts budget than the American government allots for our orchestras, I hear. So, with that being said, the future and stability of the major European orchestras is brighter than here. Also, with recording: the contracts over in Europe give those orchestras a much more viable chance to record, unlike over here where the unions crack down on that. Am I right in remembering that the Seattle Symphony members voted to knock down their union, so they are THE orchestra to record with in the US?

Perspective, perspective, perspective.

December 8, 2007 at 03:48 AM · To me a bloated government is not necessarily more diserable than private money funding orchestras.

The United States is a huge country, and to expect for the Northwest Nebraska Philharmonic to have comparable ticket sales to NYC is not realistic. People love to compare Europe to the United states, yet they fail to realize that California itself is a larger economy than some European countries.

Personally I'd rather have a few less orchestras with top quality than a barrage of state funded community orchestras which would only exist with public money. It could be much better I know, but frankly I'm getting a little tired of American musicians complaining about the state of classical music, then at the same time getting paid far more than their international colleagues.

As far as I know Seattle is a lone wolf and that's why they're like the most recorded US orchestra at the moment.

December 8, 2007 at 05:50 PM · It is impossible to compare Europe as a whole to America, or Germany to California. California is a melting pot of 35,000,000 people of all walks of life, whereas many of the northern European nations have a rather homogenous population with a much richer classical history. Those facts are indisputable. The fact that Berlin's budget is what it is cannot be disputed, either. Where I think you are referring to "many" American musicians complaining (I haven't heard many complain about their salaries, if any) is, indeed, with dwindling ticket and CD sales. Yes, as you said, the Northwest Nebraska Junior Sinfonia Youth Philharmonic Ensemble Association can't draw from a 12,000,000 metropolitan population like New York, but the appreciation and respect in the general community is certainly less than across the pond. Wouldn't you want many small-town American orchestras to have sold-out seasons? To have all teenagers know who Anne-Sophie Mutter and Krystian Zimmerman are? Understandably, we live in a far "younger" country than those that spawned Brahms, Purcell, and Verdi, yet you'd think we would strive to catch up. When Bush cut arts funding for elementary school children in 2004, that was culturally the most devastating thing he could do for the next generation--have all music classes cut so that children couldn't take them unless their family had the money to support private lessons? Something needs to be done. It is okay to complain about our classical music situation. Money is not important, and there will always be those in the field who earn quite a bit. What's important is artistic integrity, awareness, and education.

In dining with some musicians from an absolutely A-list orchestra recently, they were ALL convinced that the orchestra life is the way to go: benefits, vacation, 20 hours/wk, and steady salary. By hearing them speak, you'd think they had won the lottery with their job.

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