Berlin will publish the pay of its chief conductors

The salaries of Daniel Barenboim and Sir Simon Rattle as heads of the Staatsoper and the Berlin Philharmonic are not a matter of public record, as they would be in the US.

The incoming culture senator Klaus Lederer, a member of the Left party, intends to ¬†share the information when he takes office in ten days’ time, according to local reports.

rattle barenboim

Will anyone be shocked?

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    • If things in Berlin are similar to things in other cities, rather than be shocked, people might be surprised at the relatively low ‘salary’.

  • CEOs of German state majority owned corporations (e.g. Deutsche Bahn) make about 4 million EUR a year.
    I would see our flagship cultural “CEOs” realistically in that ballpark. Hopefully a bit below, to not cause accusations of waste of tax payer’s money.

    • Absolutely agree. If it’s good enough to pay American film actors staggering amounts beyond $US20 million dollars for a few months’ work in learning lines it seems appropriate to pay CEOs who work 24/7, are responsible for millions and millions in capitalization of companies and who have ultimate decision-making powers, a very good remuneration.

      However, I’m also a stickler for privacy and I think it’s nobody’s business what fee a conductor or anybody else is earning – unless that situation has been made clear to the person at the outset. Don’t change the rules becomes some Lefty class warrior wants everyone to ‘look over here’.

      • Well, regarding the 24/7 issue, that is where the comparison ends, because artists like Rattle or Barenboim enjoy quite a lot of time away from their main “CEO” positions, and with substantial renumeration for their additional activities. Normality in this business.

        A chief conductor position today in the age of the jet set is in fact not more than a part time occupation.

        Then there is overhead for all kind of administrative work for a real chief conductor, but still they never are there 24/7 for their orchestra and/or opera house. Those days are unfortunately over.

      • P.S. IIRC the bad habit started prominently with Karajan and the contract he negotiated with the Berlin Senate in the late 1950s, where he insisted on not more than 6 contractually mandatory programs/weeks per season. He did more usually, but he started a vicious trend for so called “chief conductors”, which today often are only “marketing faces” rather than real chiefs for their orchestras.

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