Carnegie Hall Stagehand Receives $500,000 in Pay Following Cuts

Carnegie Hall
Scaffolding around Carnegie Hall in New York. Photographer: Paul Goguen/Bloomberg

Money was so tight at Carnegie Hall during the recession that even its stagehands took a hit.

Dennis O’Connell, who oversees props at the New York concert hall, saw a 4.5 percent drop in pay and benefits in 2009 to $500,368, according to Carnegie Hall’s tax return. The four other full-time stagehands made an average of $410,438, down 7 percent from a year earlier.

Neither Carnegie Hall nor the stagehands’ union -- Local One of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees -- has provided details on the composition of stagehand pay. Producers and staffers say stagehands work long hours, with ample opportunity for overtime pay. They move equipment in and out of the hall, prepare its three stages for performances and operate audiovisual equipment.

“Their pay always varies each year as it is dependent on number and type of events produced,” said Synneve Carlino, a spokesman, in an e-mail. She declined to be more specific.

Carnegie Hall reduced operating expenses 8 percent in the year ending in June 2010, Vice Chairman and Treasurer Klaus Jacobs said in its most recent annual report. The previous year, net assets dropped by 17 percent, or $70 million, to $331.6 million.

In 2009, the executive and artistic director, Clive Gillinson, saw his pay and benefits fall 7.5 percent to $893,360. Carlino said Gillinson’s $800,000 base pay was unchanged from a year earlier, and the decline was due largely to his retirement plan vesting. Anna Weber, general manager, earned $347,367, down 3 percent.

Chief Financial Officer Richard Matlaga got a 12 percent increase to $386,461, including pay, deferred pay and benefits.


Another winner was the architectural firm Iu & Bibliowicz, co-owned by Natan Bibliowicz, the son-in-law of Carnegie Hall Chairman Sanford Weill. The firm, which oversees the expansion into two towers above the hall, received $3.1 million in 2009-2010, following $5.3 million over the previous two years. The sum includes fees paid to subcontractors, Carlino said. She declined to provide a breakdown.

The hall’s annual report indicates it’s on firmer footing than it was a year earlier. In 2009-2010, contributions to Carnegie Hall jumped to $58.8 million from $11.3 million. Net assets rose 16 percent to $385.3 million.

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