San Diego Symphony grants a significant pay rise

San Diego Symphony grants a significant pay rise


norman lebrecht

September 02, 2016

A new deal for the 82 musicians will raise wages from $70,000 this year to $80,000 in 2021.

It’s not clear from first reports if these are average salaries or entry-level.

The orch is in the middle of a music director search.

Details here.

san diego symphony


  • Bruce says:

    Congratulations to them! Hope it actually happens.

  • NYMike says:


    • mbhaz says:

      Middle of the road. There are orchestras, full-time no less, that pay much, much less. There aren’t many that pay above the $100,000 level. San Diego is a superb orchestra, their ex-conductor is a tremendous talent, and the audiences very supportive. This news is good. Now let’s hope they can build a hall worthy of their ability. $80,000 may seem like a lot, and it is above the average salary for people in San Diego, but like most of California beach cities, it is a very pricey place to live.

      • Ross says:

        You think their ex-conductor is a tremendous talent?

      • jaxon says:

        Boy, we are really defining “suberb” down quite a few rungs, aren’t we!

        • mbhaz says:

          Have you heard them play? I’ve gone to hear them play Mahler many times – a DLVDE that brought tears to my eyes, a 3rd symphony that put Dudamel in LA to shame. And yes, Ling is a terrific conductor who brings passion and excitement to the music. Maybe it’s just my age, but after a life time chasing the so-called great orchestras and great conductors around, I’ve come to the conclusion that it doesn’t have to be Chicago with Solti, Berlin with Karajan, or London with Gergiev to have a great musical experience. Smaller, less well-known orchestras and conductors can do a damn good job. The level of skill of musicians today is unparalleled and you can hear great musicians in virtually every professional orchestra. I’m not willing to play the snob game. You don’t have to go to New York or London or Berlin or Vienna to hear world-class music making.

          • MWnyc says:

            For what it’s worth, Alex Ross agrees with you about American orchestras beyond the biggest cities, and has said so in print more than once.

          • Ross says:

            Everything you said is possibly true.
            Some orchestras, such as San Diego, have many excellent musicians.

            However, I can’t see why anyone would think that Ling is a tremendous talent.
            Perhaps Mahler and the musicians brought those tears to your eyes.

  • Anon says:

    Not surprised. That orchestra is doing really well under a new management!

  • John Morris says:

    Thank you for posting this as I found it very helpful and valuable. When do you think the next pay raise will be available in San Diego? the living expenses here are pretty low