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Music Conductors and Directors


The range of earnings for music conductors and directors is enormous, and there is variation from one category of conductors to another. For instance, many conductors work only part time and make quite small yearly incomes for their conducting endeavors. Full-time church choir directors, for instance, earned salaries that averaged $21,172, ranging from a low of $11,000 to a high of $81,000, according to a March 2020 report. Opera and choral group conductors make as little as $8,000 per year working part time at the community level, but salaries range to over $100,000 per year for those with permanent positions with established companies in major cities. The same applies to symphony orchestra conductors who, for instance, make $25,000 to $40,000 per year conducting smaller, regional orchestras, but who can make $500,000 or more a year if they become the resident conductor of an internationally famous orchestra. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2018, the median annual salary for music directors and composers was $49,630. The lowest paid 10 percent earned less than $21,640 and the highest paid 10 percent earned $112,820 annually.

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