The debate on orchestral earnings continues.
We kicked it off with an exclusive survey of German orchestras.
Now a reports from a tutti player in the famed Concertgebouw orchestra of Amsterdam, living not much above the minimum wage:
I have been a member (tutti) for about twenty years. Before tax monthly income is €5.040 (US $6,000) and this is the maximum. Of this, I give about 55% to the taxation office. Extras are €1.000/year (before tax) for recordings and radio/tv things, 8% ‘holiday money’ (of course that is taxed as well), per diem when on tour plus a small compensation. Without a family, you will not starve, of course, but we do have to compromise on what food we buy with a wife and children to feed, too. Amsterdam is also not cheap (new colleagues struggle to find an affordable place where they can live, and preferably practise), I feel that I am paying a big monetary price for the honour of playing in this famous orchestra, and if another band wants to appoint me that will reward me with better conditions (money isn’t everything, but it helps to convince that lesser acoustics, possibly different conductors and what not might be worth the move), I will definitely consider it. I am definitely not old and for sure experienced, passionate and a good musician (I hope), but I should have realised this earlier perhaps, because some orchestras have age limits I think? So Amsterdam might have to stick with me until my retirement (looks like around the age of 69,5 or something like that in my case, if I am still alive then…) 😉
Is it any better in Rotterdam?