How much do the famous violinists earn?

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.

Replies (28)

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!

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.



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. :(

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.

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.

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.

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:(

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.

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. :)

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.

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:)

March 13, 2012 at 03:21 PM · Peter, it would have been much more fun that week if Elise had been in town.

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 ._.

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.

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 ...

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 ...)

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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...)

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.

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:

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.

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.

March 14, 2012 at 01:33 AM · Greetings,

my cat is very `pro-bono`



March 14, 2012 at 10:14 AM · Paul -

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!

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Yamaha Silent Violin
Yamaha Silent Violin

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Find a Summer Music Program
Find a Summer Music Program

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases Business Directory Business Directory Guide to Online Learning Guide to Online Learning

Dominant Pro Strings

Antonio Strad Violin

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Bobelock Cases


Los Angeles Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Metzler Violin Shop

Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin



Johnson String Instrument and Carriage House Violins

Potter Violins

String Masters

Bein & Company

Annapolis Bows & Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine