Forget salaries. This is what arts chiefs take home in Boston…

Forget salaries. This is what arts chiefs take home in Boston…


norman lebrecht

January 28, 2015

The Globe has been lifting the lid on hidden earnings of arts administrators.

The Boston Symphony, for instance,

includes summer housing at Tanglewood as part of managing director Mark Volpe’s $698,805 in compensation. The benefit, whose cost is not specified, is “for the convenience of the BSO,” according to its tax filing in 2013, and is not subject to taxes.

The symphony pays for Volpe’s wife to travel with him to court donors and raise funds. He drives a 2008 Audi A6 provided by the BSO and also had a $200,000 mortgage the symphony made to him in 1997 and refinanced in 2003. Of that, $72,000 is still due.

Bill Achtmeyer, chairman of the BSO trustees and a management consultant, said Volpe’s compensation is reasonable.

“Mark is the top managing director in the orchestral world. He is respected and trusted by artists and musicians around the globe,’’ Achtmeyer said. “We are lucky to have him at the BSO and will do everything we can to keep him in his post as long as he is willing to serve.”

boston musicians



  • Paul says:

    Salaries like this probably seem shocking in the UK, but aren’t in the USA. He is far from the highest paid symphony orchestra manager in the US, but he manages the largest operation, and the biggest budget, because of Tanglewood.

  • Be Sharp says:

    “Lifting the lid”? “Hidden earnings”? Mark Volpe’s full compensation (as well as the travel and housing provisions mentioned in the article), and those of other cultural leaders in Boston (and, with a handful of exceptions, everywhere else), are reported in organizational tax filings, readily available to anyone at

  • MWnyc says:

    Top managing director in the orchestral world?

    Mark Volpe may be good, but these days I’d say that title would have to go to Deborah Borda.

    And that’s just for the U.S. rather than the entire orchestral world. Orchestra bosses in most of Europe need a somewhat different skill set.

  • Brian says:

    If a minister is provided a parsonage by his church, it is considered part of his (in-kind) compensation and is subject to taxes. I can’t understand why Volpe’s free housing would not be taxable.

  • Milka says:

    And the MFA Boston has the nerve to charge $25.00 entrance fee ,never mind the
    rip off parking costs + Malcolm Rogers gets close to a million a year to run this
    operation …….that the citizens of Boston put up with this amazes one .
    Quite disgusting ……..

  • Jules says:

    And he drives a 5 year-old company car. Shocking.