McManus compiled the compensation figures with each orchestra's IRS Form 990 from the 2018/2019 season — which, according to him, broke a three-year streak for increases in the average concertmaster's salary. Despite that, five concertmasters were reported earning more than half a million dollars that season.
As of the 2018-2019 season, here are the top 10 highest-paid concertmasters in the United States:
Frank Huang at the New York Philharmonic: $629,738
Alexander Barantschik at the San Francisco Symphony: $587,876
Robert Chen at the Chicago Symphony: $573,698
Martin Chalifour at the Los Angeles Philharmonic: $564,237
Malcolm Lowe at the Boston Symphony: $513,266
David Kim at the Philadelphia Orchestra: $470,507
Nurit Bar-Josef at the National Symphony: $424,158
Alexander Kerr at the Dallas Symphony: $329,629
Timothy Lees at the Cincinnati Symphony: $310,708
David Halen at the Saint Louis Symphony: $302,387
McManus did caveat that the numbers shown do not always convey a complete compensation picture. Because the IRS only requires that an organization reports compensation figures for a fixed number of employees above a $100,000 threshold, not all orchestras reported salaries for their concertmasters. Orchestras that did not report those figures include the Cleveland Orchestra, Houston Symphony, and Seattle Symphony.
He also makes no claim to the accuracy of the information compiled and reported from external sources.