How much is your concertmaster worth? That’s tricky…

How much is your concertmaster worth? That’s tricky…


norman lebrecht

July 10, 2014

It has been a long-established fact of American musical life that the concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic is the highest paid orchestral player in the land.




dicterow bernstein


That may no longer be the case.

Figures obtained by Drew McManus from orchestra tax returns for 2011/12 show that Glenn Dicterow’s salary shot up from $517,432 (2010/11) to $654,679 in what will have been his penultimate season. He has just retired.

But Glenn’s successor has yet to be named and it’s unlikely he or she will be paid at that rate.

Meantime, other concertmasters are creeping up.

Alexander Barantschik in San Francisco shot from 507,063 (2010/11) to $560,010.

And changes in IRS procedures mean that a concertmaster’s  pay no longer needs to be published if it is below $100,000.

So for the moment, the top three are:

1 Dicterow  (NY) $654,679

2 Barantschik (SF) $560,010

3 William Preucil (Cleveland) $519,857

No-one else above half a mill.

For full list and analysis, click here.

For music directors pay click here.



  • mr oakmount says:

    Is it possible that the concertmasters are a lot more important than we think? Since chief/principal/etc conductors spend less time with their orchestras, it might be the concertmasters’ job to keep the sound and discipline of their respective orchestras consistent.
    I would be grateful for comments if this ist the case or not.

  • Eric S. says:

    Concert masters play an integral part in shaping the orchestra’s sound and even culture. This is done by leading through example and serving as a diplomat between conductors, the orchestra, and even administrators.

    The New York Philharmonic was and will continue to be influenced by the incredibly high standards of performance left by Glenn Dicterow. In his capacity as concertmaster, bowings are given, musical questions with conductors are given voice, and various orchestra board/committees have an additional intelligent musical advocate.
    What should also be noted is that he also performed as soloist each season with the New York Philharmonic and probably holds the record for most solo performances of any violinist with the orchestra. A CD collection (The Glenn Dicterow Collection) was released from live performances because of the fantastic standard he demonstrated.
    Comparable performances by other solo artists are paid at extremely high rates that are not often under as much scrutiny since they are not publicized officially.
    In addition to concertos, he played many concertmaster solos, especially in his last season. His last season included every concertmaster solo in the book. The reason the orchestra has been having such a hard time finding a new concertmaster for the orchestra is because of the legacy he left behind and continues to illustrate every time he plays.