Orchestras lose money on their operations—ticket sales do not cover the cost of presenting the concerts, even at prices that often exceed $100 for premium seats. For most of the second half of the 20th century, the difference was made up with funds from recording income (which for most ensembles disappeared entirely about 15 years ago) and gifts from individuals, foundations and corporations. Why is an orchestra so expensive? Because an orchestra of about 100 highly skilled professionals and the infrastructure required to support and raise the money necessary to pay for them mandates that most of the organization's revenues go to salaries and benefits. You can't reduce an orchestra's expenses by firing half the players. Its product is an ensemble of a certain size. While the Cleveland Orchestra's payroll may not be outsize for its caliber of playing, it is clearly outsize for the market that supports it. The numbers for the year ended June 30, 2008: Conductor Franz Welser-Möst received compensation of $1,316,120. Concertmaster William Preucil (the orchestra's most highly paid member) received a salary of $414,159 and benefits of $19,658. The mean compensation for players was $140,200. Benefits include 10 weeks of paid vacation and 26 weeks of paid sick leave. The orchestra's 2009-10 budget is $42 million, down from $45 million during the prior period. Net assets during 2008 were reported to have been reduced by $27 million; published financial information seems to indicate an operating loss, perhaps in excess of $7 million.

— expenses of orchestra personnell very high  

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