Desperate Mozarteum pays quarter of a million Euros for new Rector

Desperate Mozarteum pays quarter of a million Euros for new Rector


norman lebrecht

November 12, 2017

The Salzburg Mozarteum has, for reasons you will have read about in Slipped Disc, got through three rectors in as many years.

It re-advertised the post at a salary of 140,000 Euros – respectable for a campus of its size.

The successful candidate was Elisabeth Gutjahr, 57, conservatory chief in Trossingen (look for it on the map of Germany with a magnifying glass).

She is already on a salary of 190,000 so Salzburg agreed to match that.

Then she demanded an extra 60k for relocation and whatever.

She got that, too.

It’s turning into a good year for Dr Gutjahr.



  • Luk Vaes says:

    At some point in the future, such greed is going to backfire. Meanwhile, let’s see how much she’ll be considered worth it when we find out a new call is sent out.

  • Arsenio Meertens says:

    The sort of news one should not read after a heavy meal, truly puke-inducing. 190000 EUR is obscene for a rinky-dink outfit out in the boondocks like T(r)ossingen where a lot of the teaching is done by academics on contract for a derisory hourly rate. Must have been a political or affirmative action appointment.

  • Furzwängler says:

    Indeed, ein sehr gutes Jahr für die werte Frau Gutjahr.
    Let’s see what happens next.

  • NYMike says:

    Does a set of Goodyear tires come with the job??

  • Theodore McGuiver says:

    Nomen ist Omen.

  • Sarah says:

    The article by the way does not say that she will get 250.000€. She demanded 250.000€ and they met “somehere in the middle” between the initial offer of 140.000 and her expectations.

  • William Osborne says:

    Elizabeth Gutjahr’s salary might derive from the fact that she has done excellent work in Trossingen. Her leadership has been greatly appreciated by her colleagues, and they are distressed to see her go. To achieve her result she worked constantly, almost to the point of exhaustive collapse. One of her most notable accomplishments was founding a new course of study in which students can major called Musik Design and Performance. It has been sensationally successful and is flooded with applicants from across the country. She has a very forward looking sensibility and is incredibly hardworking. I suspect she will bring sucessful innovations to the Mozarteum it really needs.

    • Suzanne says:

      The newspaper report also says that by taking the Mozarteum job and leaving Germany she stands to lose her government pension, which would be quite a significant financial loss.

      • William Osborne says:

        She wouldn’t lose her pension, but the monthly sum would be slightly reduced because she will not work in Germany until her 65 birthday. I’m just guessing, but I think the pension benefits she might get for working in Austria would compensate for the reductions in her German pension.

  • Peter Ramsauer says:

    Apparently the Board of the “Mozarteum” is rather in the corner, having been unable to produce a viable candidate for more than a year.

    As such any contract formed with the new “Rektor” falls under the guise of the “Vetragsschablonenverordnung” (Contract-Framework-Regulation, the “Verodnung”), promulgated by Article 6 of the “Stellenbesetzungsgesetz”. It defines the framework and the elements of any contract to be concluded, stipulating that remuneration has to reflect the custom of similar institutions, giving special consideration as to whether the organization is mostly publicly financed or not.

    In light of the view that the Mozarteum receives more than 90% of its funding from the Federal State, it would be interesting to find out how the discussed remuneration for the new “Rektor” can be justified.

    • William Osborne says:

      If approved, her salary would be 190 thousand Euros, which is not unusual for top arts administrators in the German-speaking world. The extra 60k is a one time payment for moving costs (though that seems high to me.)

      A salary like that is very economical compared to exorbitant fees paid to top executives in the US arts world. Here are some numbers from 2009 that I have at hand from an old post:

      *In 2009, Carnegie Hall paid Clive Gillinson $800,000. By 2015 it was $2,235,308 – an increase of 180%.

      * Reynold Levy’s annual compensation to run Lincoln Center topped $1 million.

      *Deborah Borda, Executive Director of the LA Phil made 1.8 million per year. She was paid more the Dudamel.

      * Glenn D. Lowry, director of the Museum of Modern Art, earned $2.7 million in the year that ended in June 2008, including several one-time bonuses and the cost of his apartment in the tower beside the museum.

      * Occasionally institutions will also pay bonuses tied to performance or longevity, like the $3.25 million given in 2006 to Philippe de Montebello to recognize his 30-year service to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (His aristocratic name fits well with America’s neo-feudalistic form of arts funding.)

      * On top of his $940,000 salary, Michael Kaiser of the Kennedy Center earned a $150,000 bonus, as well as other benefits, for 2009.

      * Zarin Mehta’s compensation, for fiscal year 2010, was $807,500. In the fiscal year ending in August 2008 he earned 2.67 million. This reflected his salary in addition to eight years of accumulated deferred compensation.

      * Timothy Rub, the director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art earns $450,00.

      * George Steel, the general manager and artistic director of New York City Opera received $360,000 – and from an opera house shut down its next season due to a lack of funds.

      Part of the problem is that with America’s private funding system, organizations become inordinately dependent on high paid administrators who can wheedle money out of the wealthy. This is one of many reasons that ticket prices in the USA for the performing fine arts are generally three to four times higher than in the EU.

      Salaries like this are unheard of in European arts administration, or even in the UK which has a sort of US/EU hyrbrid system. In continental Europe, arts administrators are generally civil servants and paid according to those sorts of more reasonable scales. So yes, 190k seems high, but it could be a lot worse…

      • Peter says:

        the legal restrictions apply with regards to an Austrian context.
        Your examples, while addressing a rather salient issue, are out of context and primarily refer to a US context.
        Relocation of EUR 60.0000.– may be excessive with regards to the legislation outlined.

        • William Osborne says:

          Quite true. It’s likely the 60k is a negotiating sum and a lesser amount will be approved. And on a related note, I’m not certain, but I think the salaries of orchestra musicians in Austria are on average a bit lower than Germany — something I find interesting.

          • Peter says:


            according to the “Einkommensbericht”, page 416 ( of the Court of Audit (Bundesrechnungshof), the predecessor in the position of “Rektor” earned roughly EUR 145.000.–
            Given that the position was advertised for EUR 140.000.– (with a potential for upgrade), EUR 190.000.– is hard to argue as it is. Specifically, if the Board has to stay within the limits of the “Verordnung”. Any breach might, in the worst case, render the contract on that point void. Of course this is just my personal opinion, and no liability as to its validity attaches.

            As to salaries of orchestras, for purposes of this blog they are not topical. Contact Norman Lebrecht so that we exchange contact details to discuss that further.