what do you ask for a concert?

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what do you ask for a concert?

Postby rachmaninoff » Sat Dec 23, 2006 3:58 pm

hej people...

I had an concert today and they asked me what I wanted for it. I really didn't know so what do you ask and how do you count it? in hour or per song or....
music is enough for lifetime but lifetime isn't enough for music 'rachmaninoff'

while composing I've got always an picture in my head 'beethoven'

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Postby PJF » Sun Dec 24, 2006 8:06 am

I've never been paid for a recital, but I do know that our local performing arts center pays non-famous but accomplished pianists 2,500 dollars American for four performances of a program. More famous pianists get paid more, of course! About 8 years ago (I forget the exact date), Lang Lang performed at the aforementioned center and received a rumored 6,500 dollars American for one recital (my information is not rock-solid, but is from a reliable source that shall remain unnamed).

I play at local social functions (weddings, black-tie parties and other formal gatherings) and get paid 225 dollars American per event. I have been offered 500 dollars for such an event (an unexpected treat). I have also played in some upscale New Orleans restaurants; I was paid 50 doallars an hour for four hours, plus tips. I could leave with about 400 on a good night.

I can't say how much you should charge. I can say that you need to establish a certain range for yourself when it comes for specific types of events.

Does anyone know of 'scale' for classical pianists? Is there a resource we can consult? I suppose ticket sales (or lack thereof) strongly determine your payment. Most of us (including myself) are not well known enough to even consider paid concert engagements. Hopefully I'll get there.

This is an issue I need to resolve, too. (I'll ask my prof, she'll know, I bet.)


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Postby pianolady » Sun Dec 24, 2006 10:43 am

Nothing much to add here, but this is an interesting thread. I've always wondered what pianist get paid for playing in upscale department stores.
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Postby toki » Mon Dec 25, 2006 4:48 am

FWIW, the only time I've ever been paid to play was for a wedding about six months ago or so, and I was payed $250 for a two-hour ceremony. Then I improvised during the reception, which was about a half hour.

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Postby avguste » Mon Dec 25, 2006 8:15 pm

Merry Christmas to all

I think all pianist should have an idea of how much they are worth and how much they can reasonably ask for before even accepting an engagement.I also think that every pianist should be paid,otherwise,people start to think that we are "The Salvation Army" ;)
As far as fees,I would personally charge anywhere between $100 and $1000 per concert.
That is of course bound to change based on the amount of repertoire,the amount of concerts,the amount of time given to prepare.Of course,if someone calls me today and asks me to peform tomorrow,I would be charging $1000 and up.
At the same time,there can also be negotiations.If the person that is asking for you is willing to provide accomodations,travel expenses,food and such,the final price would be low.
And if in addition to that they accept for you to sell your CDs,the price would go down a little more.
The other advice is always ask how much they offer and then keep in mind,that whatever they offer is the lowest start with.
Always have a reason to ask for more,like,for example if you are playing pieces no one never played before.
The bottom line is,all performers need to get paid.Performance is our bread and butter
Avguste Antonov
Concert Pianist

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Postby PJF » Tue Dec 26, 2006 2:43 am

I agree, Avguste, we pianists MUST set a high standard for ourselves. It's habit for the public and (ironically) other business owners to see us as good-deed-doers and not the entre-pre-neurs we actually are.

Here's a personal story.

My first 'gig' was every Friday and Saturday night at a nice Italian restaurant (I got free food, too; definitely a plus!) playing mostly classical, traditional Italian songs, a bit of Jazz/improv. I was paid whatever tips I got plus a predetermined amount for a predetermined time and that was that, so I thought. A couple of months in, the owner (badabing! :lol:) called me into his office. He wanted to bring in a violinist to play along with me. It sounded like a good idea, it was a good idea at the time. So the violinist and I meet; she's an attractive, talented violin instructor. After playing that Friday, we walk into the restauranteur's office, expecting the predetermined rate. Instead, I'm treated to this explanation of why my payment is being cut almost in half. Blah, blah, badabing. Blah, blah, opportunity; I did not want to hear it. I was in a very tough spot; this gig was paying very well and it would still pay well, even if I accepted the pay cut. I told the owner and the clueless violinist I would sleep on it. The next day I tried to reason with the man, that splitting tips that were not increased by the violinist was not fair to me, that splitting our payment was not fair to either of us. He had made up his mind. Unfortunately, I had made up mine, too. I bid him farewell and left him my card, in case he would have a change of heart. He never called me. Lowering my charge on such a whim, would have damaged my current reputation as a first-class hardass.

A month later, I got a new gig at a different restaurant. At age 21, I made a strong effort to appear as professional as possible in my dress-code and demeanor. My suggested rates were clearly stated and I left the owner of the new restaurant with a video of me playing elsewhere. He liked what he saw because I succeded in getting him to agree to a one year, 100 night contract. A few months later, he asked me to play Sundays at brunch, at 2/3 regular pay. After some discussion, I agreed. Behave as a professional and you will likely be treated as one.

Whatever you end up charging, PUT IT IN WRITING!!! A simple form will do for one time events, like weddings. A formal contract is best for regular gigs and concert engagements. Business owners usually won't agree to a long-term contract, that's OK. Try to agree on a short-term contract. Just make sure you come to a meeting of the minds (and put that mind-meeting on paper) before you provide any services. If you fail to do that, you will have to endure the odd surprise. I don't like surprises, do you?

The same goes for giving lessons, although you are far less likely to get an argument from a parent than from Vito Corleone, you must put the agreement on paper. (In Louisiana, the cost of living is very low, I charge thirty dollars an hour for lessons. In San Francisco, I imagine the amount would be higher.)

...and to all a good night!


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Postby Jennifer » Fri Jan 19, 2007 2:05 am

I don't get paid to perform because I am priceless :D :D :D :D :D
Jennifer M. Castellano

"Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best." --Henry Van Dyke

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