Debating salaries of large-budget orchestra managers

Posted on: June 10, 2011

In Thursday’s (6/9) Philadelphia Inquirer, Peter Dobrin writes, “How much money should the president of a major orchestra be paid? And should the person at the helm when an orchestra slips into bankruptcy be paid less for failing to keep finances afloat—or more, since managing such a crisis is tough? All these factors relate to Allison B. Vulgamore,” whose salary, according to Dobrin, “is at the middle of a scale that includes 10 top U.S. orchestras.” According to Board Chairman Richard B. Worley, Vulgamore turned down a $25,000 raise in her base pay, plus a “variable compensation” component—or bonus—which could have been between $50,000 and $150,000. “Some of Vulgamore’s peers in the industry earn less, some more—some much more. Apples-to-apples comparisons are difficult, since in some cases orchestra executives also oversee related organizations, such as summer venues or presenting arms. Cost-of-living variables from city to city—which orchestra management is using as a factor in talks with musicians about their salaries—can also be hard to gauge.”

Posted June 10, 2011