Berlin will publish the pay of its chief conductors

Berlin will publish the pay of its chief conductors


norman lebrecht

November 30, 2016

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?


  • Daniele says:

    In the case of Barenboim, yes! 🙂

    • Max Grimm says:

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

  • Gustav says:

    We can see if Sir Simon might have purchased the Mahler 2 manuscript!?!

  • Allan Green says:

    What a delightful photo of Barenboim and Rattle!

  • Peter says:

    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.

    • Sue says:

      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’.

      • Peter says:

        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.

      • Peter says:

        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.