The soloist in the Elgar concerto works at a supermarket checkout

The soloist in the Elgar concerto works at a supermarket checkout


norman lebrecht

May 03, 2018

Another angle on musicians’ wages.

Svetlana Jones is a Russian-trained musician on the north island of New Zealand.

This week, she gets a rare chance to play the Elgar cello concerto.

Most days, she works at the grocery till.

Read here.



  • Caravaggio says:

    Oh my

  • Rob says:

    It’s Elgar’s Checkout Concerto for 5p bag and bow.

  • John Borstlap says:

    It simply means that performers begin to reach the income levels of composers.

  • Bruce says:

    You do what you have to do. Preparing a concerto while working at a real* job is hard. Good for her.

    (* by “real,” I mean a job where people don’t assume that you must do it for free)

  • SoCal Dan says:

    When attending the opera or a concert, I bring an extra cough drop (or throat lozenge) with me, in case someone nearby needs one.

  • Ron Keillor says:

    The area’s population is 110,000. Can anyone compare musician pay scales in cities of similar size?

  • Jaime Herrera says:

    This is somewhat not comparable but a few famous concert violinists used to play in hotels and cafes until they got some type of break. Everyone needs luck on their side.

  • Sharon says:

    If one can afford it jobs in groceries are like actors taking jobs as waiters. It is easy to find another job or rearrange one’s work schedule to accommodate performances and unlike other things, for ex. working as a full time music teacher in the government school system, it does not require a lot of emotional or intellectual energy, time outside of the regular work day, or set hours that cannot be changed easily