Best-paid orchestra?

Fairly simple question: who is the best-paid orchestra in the US, and in the world? I don’t mean necessarily star soloists on specific tour dates who raked in serious cash, but contracted members of established orchestra. And what is that starting salary? Thanks in advance.

The New York Philharmonic seems to be listed consistently as the top U.S. orchestra for minimum salary. An article in The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) lists the minimum for NY as $114,400, Chicago (#2) as $113,360.

I didn’t find a comprehensive current list, but I found one that compares growth between 1952 and 2000 for about 40 or so orchestras here.

Thanks much!

US orchestras are well-known (at least over here :wink: ) for being very well-paid. At least compared to ours. This article gives a good idea of the British situation - $45k for rank-and-file players is typical. With which you’re supposed to scrape a living in London.

To be fair, orchestral musicians aren’t generally supposed to be scraping out a living on their salary alone. Traditionally, rehearsing and performing is not a full-time job, and they’re teaching and playing other paying gigs as well.

I’ve always heard that the Met orchestra is tops for salary. Heck - even long standing members of the Met *chorus * make six figures. I couldn’t find the Plain Dealer article referenced above, or more recent figures than these from 1997, but for what it’s worth, here were the top 10 as of 8 years ago. The 100K+ figure posted by JeffB seems reasonable for today’s market given 8 years of increases. According to an article I found online, the Met now keeps its orchestral salaries mum, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it still pays better than the NYPO.

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra ($85,000)
Chicago Symphony ($78,520)
New York Philharmonic ($76,960)
Boston Symphony ($74,360)
Philadelphia Orchestra (also $74,360)
L.A. Philharmonic ($74,100)
San Francisco Symphony ($73,640)
Cleveland Orchestra ($71,760)
Minnesota Orchestra ($65,780)
Pittsburgh Symphony ($63,960)

Again, this is from a British perspective, but you’re wrong: a full-time orchestra post is just that. By the time you factor in preparation time etc., it easily works out as a full week’s work. Players take on freelance gigs and teaching on top of this, because it’s the only way to make ends meet.

Echoing GorillaMan, in the US at least the top orchestras are expected to be doing 5 day weeks (practice and performance), and have unionized contracts which effectively state this. It appears that the salaries of many of the major American orchestras have risen $30,000 in less than a decade!