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Who Are the Highest Paid Concertmasters in the U.S.?

American publicist Drew McManus of Adaptistration shared data on concertmaster salaries in the United States

McManus compiled the compensation figures with each orchestra's IRS Form 990 from the 2018/2019 season — which, according to him, broke a three-year streak for increases in the average concertmaster's salary. Despite that, five concertmasters were reported earning more than half a million dollars that season.

As of the 2018-2019 season, here are the top 10 highest-paid concertmasters in the United States:

Frank Huang at the New York Philharmonic: $629,738

Alexander Barantschik at the San Francisco Symphony: $587,876

Robert Chen at the Chicago Symphony: $573,698

Martin Chalifour at the Los Angeles Philharmonic: $564,237

Malcolm Lowe at the Boston Symphony: $513,266

David Kim at the Philadelphia Orchestra: $470,507

Nurit Bar-Josef at the National Symphony: $424,158

Alexander Kerr at the Dallas Symphony: $329,629

Timothy Lees at the Cincinnati Symphony: $310,708

David Halen at the Saint Louis Symphony: $302,387


McManus did caveat that the numbers shown do not always convey a complete compensation picture. Because the IRS only requires that an organization reports compensation figures for a fixed number of employees above a $100,000 threshold, not all orchestras reported salaries for their concertmasters. Orchestras that did not report those figures include the Cleveland Orchestra, Houston Symphony, and Seattle Symphony.

He also makes no claim to the accuracy of the information compiled and reported from external sources.

The salaries of the United States' Music Directors were also recently released.

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