What violinists are paid in…

… Sydney, Australia.

We gave been sent the pay rates for second violins in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

The going rate for a tutti seat is A$92,135 to A$115,169 (US $85,600-107,027).

It comes with 9.50% superannuation, and 6 weeks annual leave.

That is more than double the tutti rate in most UK orchestras. nd you won’t find comparable pay in the US, outside the top ten.

Other benefits can be viewed below. Audition form here.

australians on beach


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  • This isn’t such a great deal as it might seem: Sydney is an extremely expensive city to live in (for example, housing costs are very high) and also isolated (which makes it much harder to stay in touch with family, or keep one’s visibility in other areas such as chamber music).

    • And there’s this –

      Norman says that you won’t find similar pay rates for U.S. orchestras outside the top ten. Well, if there’s any orchestra in Australasia – heck, anywhere east of Moscow, south of Hong Kong (if not Tokyo) and west of São Paulo – that can claim to be at the level of the U.S. top ten, it’s the Sydney Symphony.

      And Indeed, the Sydney Symphony went to the trouble of acquiring its music director from the U.S. top ten (though it has to share). So it obviously wants to play in that league, and is paying accordingly.

      And yes, I have read repeatedly that the cost of living in Sydney is getting toward New York/San Francisco/London levels (though Sydneysiders may be getting more space for their money than we do).

      I can’t help thinking that expense is the reason that Sydney keeps falling below Melbourne in the “world’s most livable cities” rankings. (It certainly isn’t because of the climate.)

  • Whenever I look at the list of world’s most livable cities (a box ticking exercise, beyond the experiential), said cities seem often to align well with world’s most boring.

    Real Estate is a big factor in living expenses, and Melbourne is not that far behind Sydney but Sydney is simply unsurpassed for beauty and climate, anything but boring, and the big stuff with the big views sells for megabucks. Asian investment money is pouring into both.

    The SSO is in fine form and naming names, the name is David Robertson. The director of artistic planning is also American – Ben Schwartz.

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