Musicians’ Union – a review of orchestral musicians’ pay
In 2004, the Musicians’ Union commissioned the hub to investigate the pay and employment conditions of orchestral musicians working in the UK. the hub polled all musicians under contract with UK orchestras in June and July 2004. 168 members responded (around 17% of total available respondents), representing all levels of the UK’s orchestras, from principals to rank & file, in all four orchestral sections.
Our survey showed that orchestral musicians, despite being dedicated professionals at the top of their profession, are paid significantly less than the national average wage, at just £22,500 pa for rank and file players. our survey also showed that this is less than the average cost of the instrument they play and that brothers and sisters of musicians, within 5 years of the musician’s age, earn around 85% more than their musician sibling, with an average income of over £46,000. In short, our findings concluded that musicians’ investment in their profession and their conditions makes them probably orchestral music’s greatest, and most under-recognised, long-term supporters.
Following the launch of our research in 2005, the Musicians’ Union has developed a range of initiatives in response to our findings.
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