What conductors earn in…

What conductors earn in…


norman lebrecht

September 02, 2014

… Finland.


susanna malkki

The Helsingin Sanomat critic Vesa Siren has been looking at the fees for chief conductor in his town, after the announcement that Susanna Mälkki is to take over the Philharmonic from John Storgards.

Vesa has worked out that the Helsinki Philharmonic pays its chief between 10,000 and 15,000 Euros per concert (US $13,000-15,000) and a half-fee for repeats.

Nice work if you can get it. Outside of France and the major German cities, this would seem to be in the upper range of European fees for 2014. Vesa reckons it is average for Nordic capitals.

Let us know if you have further information.


  • Dr Peter Lim says:

    That’s huge!

  • Reinhold Martin says:

    That’s because alcohol is so expensive in Finland.

  • Rgiarola says:

    I would include the fact that Musiikkitalo is a brand new concert hall, very beautiful and with a very good acoustic. I think this kind of things worth as much as money to any conductor.

  • Martin Malmgren says:

    It is no small sum, but indeed I believe that Vesa is right – it is rather average for Nordic capitals. Then there’s also the case of when ‘world stars’ get a gig here – some soloists/conductors take rather ridiculous fees. Also, orchestras much smaller than Helsinki Philharmonic still offer a rather good salary for visiting soloists/conductors, I have experienced.

  • PGynt says:

    I wonder how much the Finnish taxman takes.

    • Verokarhu says:

      The more one earns, the more the Finnish taxman takes. If your total annual earnings are 150.000e, the taxman takes approx. 41 %. At 300.000e the taxman’s share is 45,5% and at 500.000e it’s already 47,5%.

  • Leoj Retnuh says:

    It’s an absolute disgrace. But actually these fees are paltry compared to most other countries where conductors regularly command double this amount.
    And then everyone is complaining about how under funded the arts and especially music is. I’m not sure this is actually true. Its simply because most of the funding and sponsorship money goes into the pockets of conductors and their agents and not to the organisations and orchestras that so desperately need it.
    The balance between what an orchestral musician receives and a conductor is so out of control that it is has to be unsustainable and yet you try talking to a conductor about these issues – impossible. It’s like a veil of secrecy that none of them will break. The irony is that as orchestras and concert halls go bust the need for conductors will decrease. Talk about shooting themselves in the foot!
    A very disgruntled violist.