Friday, March 16, 2018

Fee Schedule

A long time ago I put up a post on the official performance fees for didgeridoo players in New South Wales. You really should follow the link. This reminds me of a pianist I used to know (he ended up the musical director of the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario). He used to do the occasional cocktail piano gig and his specialty was Rhapsody in Blue by Gershwin. But he would only play that demanding piece if he was given a $50 tip. Makes sense. An old friend of mine who has retired to a beach in Brazil writes me that he wishes I would do a classical arrangement of The Girl from Ipanema that he could listen to while relaxing on his veranda. I wrote him back that my fee would be $1,000 US plus another thousand for recording costs. Heh! This gets me thinking about performance fees and I see the opportunity for a bit of satire.

Based upon my experience in the professional business world since retiring as a classical guitar virtuoso, this is what I would charge for performances these days, if I were giving any. All amounts in US dollars.

  • Short 20 minute program of 16th century Spanish vihuela music with original ornaments derived from my own research: $500
  • Longer 30 minute program adding favorite pieces by Bach in my original transcriptions: $1,000
  • Full recital program of about an hour and ten minutes including intermission of the above works plus music by 20th century Spanish composers (Rodrigo and Moreno Torroba): $2,000
  • The same but with entertaining remarks before pieces, add an additional $500
  • Full recital program including selections from above but featuring original compositions that might include one of my two suites for guitar: $3,000 (add $500 for informative commentary)
  • Full recital program with music for violin and guitar including original transcriptions of works by Rameau, Debussy and Shostakovich as well as my Four Pieces for violin and guitar and my new piece "Dark Dream" for violin and guitar. $5,000
  • Performance as soloist in concertos by Castelnuovo-Tedesco ($5,000), Villa-Lobos ($8,000) or Rodrigo ($10,000)
These are actually quite reasonable fees based on the level of professional training, experience, creativity and sheer work involved.

OK, now what did I actually get paid for a performance back when I was a touring virtuoso? For being the featured soloist in the Villa-Lobos Guitar Concerto (as well as playing two of his preludes for guitar) in a gala concert before the Brazilian Consul-General in the gloriously restored Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver with the CBC Vancouver Orchestra conducted by Mario Bernardi, recorded for national broadcast: $1,300 dollars. Canadian dollars.

Here is one of my pieces for violin and guitar: Surreal Reel.


Marc said...

When I win the lottery, I'll fly you to Eugene for a recital. Heck, for a series of three recitals including a performance as soloist with the Symphony (I don't doubt-- the munificence of the lottery being what it must be in this fantasy-- that the S. powers that be will program whatever you like.)

Bryan Townsend said...

Marc, you are a beautiful, beautiful person.