The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra were today announced as the third-ever winners of the $1m Birgit Nilsson prize. In case you're thinking that sounds a lot, it only works out at about £4,000 per player - and it's more likely to be put towards educational or social work in any case.
But perhaps the most surprising fact to emerge from a report by Rupert Christiansen, a member of the prize jury, is that the Wieners employ only 12 permanent backroom staff. Yes, 12. For a pool of 148 players. I understand additional people are taken on tour, but the numbers are not huge.
In comparison, the LSO, only two-thirds the size, has a staff of more than 80. That includes a sales and marketing headcount of 12 - yes, the same size as the entire administrative workforce in Vienna. And I'm not picking on the LSO - other London orchestras employ similar numbers, as do their US counterparts.
How do the Wieners manage it? Well, they don't bother with social media for a start. In fact sales and marketing generally is low profile. There's no press department. If questions are asked of the orchestra, it's likely that first violinist (and orchestra president) Clemens Hellsberg will answer them. Ultimately the musicians manage themselves in many respects. Go back a few years and it's how most orchestras operated.
It doesn't seem to do them any harm. The Vienna Philharmonic remain, arguably, the most successful orchestra in the world. They sell out pretty much everywhere they go. And regardless of whether you think they're artistically the best, the second best or the 17th best, they are undeniably pretty good, with conductors of all stripes regarding an invitation from them as a career pinnacle.
Less outlay on admin means more left over for the musicians. Something other organisations might like to chew over.