Orchestra Management Career and Salary Information

Sep 15, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an orchestra manager. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and necessary skills to find out if this is the career for you.

Although an orchestra manager does not have to have a post-secondary education, they must have strong negotiation, communication and organizational skills to be successful. Some of the various job titles an orchestra manager might have include 'general manager' or 'executive director'.

Essential Information

Orchestra managers typically coordinate financial, marketing, personnel and production duties. Responsibilities include coordinating fundraising initiatives and concert logistics. Wages vary based on the size of an orchestra. The minimum requirement for this position is a high school diploma or its equivalent.

Required Education High school diploma or equivalent minimum requirement
Other Requirements Strong negotiation, communication and organizational skills
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028) 1% for music directors and composers*
Average Salary (2019) $54,045 for executive directors of orchestras**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics **

Orchestra Management Career Overview


According to the League of American Orchestras, a company's leading administrative executive is the orchestra manager, who can alternately be called the general manager or executive director ( Other organizations may have the orchestra manager position underneath an executive director. Regardless of organizational and title variations, orchestra management professionals oversee operational, financial and human resources tasks.

Some larger orchestras divide responsibilities among multiple management positions, which can include operations, personnel and development (fundraising) managers. An orchestra manager at a smaller company assumes many of these administrative duties. Additional responsibilities include rehearsal and tour scheduling, marketing, hiring and contract negotiation.


Orchestra managers act as a liaison between departments. They are responsible for preparing and presenting a budget to a board of directors, and ultimately for ensuring all departments operate within the company's financial constraints. Managers are also responsible for fundraising initiatives, which can include grant applications and donation campaigns.

Together with a music director or conductor, orchestra managers set rehearsal and performance schedules, supervise auditions and oversee venue preparation. They negotiate with musicians' unions on working contracts, secure clearances for music rights and oversee equipment procurement. Orchestra managers coordinate marketing campaigns and public relations efforts and may appear as a public face representing the organization.

Salary Information for Orchestra Managers

Wages can vary greatly based on orchestra size and location. Salary figures from the website indicate that the average salary for executive directors of orchestras was $54,045 in 2019, with 442 individuals reporting their earnings. Orchestra executive salaries for 2016-2017 were also reported through the consulting firm Adaptistration ( through IRS documents, and the figures show a different picture. The average pay for all orchestra executives included in those data was $309,598. In the same season, it was reported that the top ten earning executives were compensated between $441,980 (Seattle Symphony) at the lowest end and $1,417,633 (Los Angeles Philharmonic) at the highest end.

Some of the primary duties an orchestra manager is responsible for include fundraising, budget preparation, and acting as liaison between various departments. They must also organize marketing campaigns, set rehearsal and performance schedules, and negotiate contracts.

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