What a French soloist charges for free recitals

What a French soloist charges for free recitals


norman lebrecht

June 08, 2020

The cellist Gautier Capucon has told French media that he is touring the country this summer, playing free concerts in the open air over loudspeakers with pre-recorded piano accompaniment by Jérôme Ducros. He calls it ‘going back to roots’.

Free is free, right? The journal La Lettre du Musicien has just published details of the fees Capucon requires:

 2800 euros for cities with less than 3000 inhabitants,

4800 euros for cities between 3000 and 10 000 inhabitants,

7800 euros for cities between 10,000 and 60,000 inhabitants and

9,800 euros for cities with more than 60,000 inhabitants.

There seems to be no shortage of takers. As many as 600 requests, according to his Facebook page.

Read the full article here.

UPDATE: Cellist scraps fees


  • Fiddlist says:

    The Capuçon French Almanac of population-proportioned recital fees, hilarious!

  • Cello74 says:

    Fine. Why not ? Take also into account that he is widely sponsored by many French public & private associations like Pierre Bergé for instance …

  • Andy says:

    Presumably the free bit is just the free entry for the audience?

  • Larry williams says:

    No artist should have to perform for free, but those fees are exorbitant in a time of financial difficulty for everyone.

    • Bone says:

      Is “exorbitant” a quantifiable data point or did you just arbitrarily decide his fee was too high? Seems the market has decided otherwise – glad you aren’t the concert czar.

    • JustMy2Cents says:

      exorbitant? I wouldn’t think so. Remember there are many artists who are much lesser known. If he would drop his fees too low, they would actually have to play for free. if they want Capucon, they have to pay Capucon.

      If they just want a nice concert “free for the audience”, they can always ask local artists that would be more than happy to do it and for lower fees… in the world of music the rules of demand and supply do apply as well.

      • Paul Carlile says:

        How funny that the commenters not using the cedilla (ç), have unwittingly cunfirmed Capuçon as what he turns out to be….
        Expert player tho he is, his attitude in the circumstances reflect his soulless musicianship.

      • Paul Carlile says:


  • In France Renaud is more famous than Gautier

  • LondonPianist says:

    At a time when already underpaid professional musicians are suffering hugely, with no concerts and little income, this seems especially gross. And with pre-recorded piano accompaniment? Double gross.

  • Jan Kaznowski says:

    ==Hors frais d’hébergement

    Exclusive of accomodation costs

  • MacroV says:

    I assume he earns more than that for a “normal” gig. Guy’s gotta make a living. But no live piano?

  • John Borstlap says:

    It is heartwarming to see a great soloist being so selfless and generous, and with such noble unconcern for the promotors’ expenses.

  • Gautier is one of the most famous living cellists—these fees are perfectly reasonable.

  • alex piantedoux says:

    it doesn’t convince me at all….if he wanted to be generous he had to ask organizer to provide the venue and to pay him travel and accommodation, then Gautier retain the income from the box office..his fees before covid era is not an argument on my view

  • jay says:

    He really should charge by the note then deduct 50%
    for boring us minus the piano.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    Gautier is a brilliant musician, and should charge whatever the market for him will bear.
    Why all the carping? The man’s trying to make a living in a cutthroat business in a world that’s sick and on fire.
    If audiences, virtual or real, are willing to pay him the fees he requires (and deserves), then GOOD! He’s not kneeling on their necks, for pity’s sake!

  • Cello Fellow says:

    This is most confusing. These concerts are indeed free to the public if the public don’t pay, which seems admirable. Bravo. Wether he plays for free is a separate matter. The title free concert is aimed at the public. I am aware of a british opera star who charges £25k to give a charity recital. The charity was perfectly happy. Why infer meanness in Gautier? Promoters need to pay players. Gautier may choose to be generous quietly with the money he earns. But that is not our business to know. Why are we so judgemental about this? In the scale of world famous soloists fees these are quite low. I suspect he is embarking on the laudable aim to build a new audience.

  • Rhonda says:

    More power to him! Tomorrow I will play Beethoven to piano back-track on my YouTube channel, live feed! Check that and all my Covid fun out on my YouTube channel and FB profiles! Thanks for the free plug, Mr. Lebrecht!

  • Feurich says:

    Paid for by cities, or municipalities etc. Almost all classical soloists are essentially deriving income from public funds, since the whole art is subsidized otherwise it would not exist. Better we do not know how much money they make. Oh and of course many of these artists live in Switzerland to pay less taxes…