skip to main content

MU Orchestral Concert Rates

Updated: 10 October 2023 | 13:38 PM

Our recommended orchestral concert rates are updated each October. They cover orchestral playing where an orchestra is not part of the Association of British Orchestras, or where a direct Collective Agreement with the MU does not exist.

Our rates factor in all the other financial obligations of being self-employed. Freelancers do not necessarily receive the benefits of employment such as holiday pay, sick pay, pension contributions and parental leave. These are recommended minimums and should be used as a starting point for negotiating work which involves additional travel, increased preparation time or greater responsibility. Rates do not reflect regional cost-of-living differences or experience level, which should be negotiated on top.

How we set our rates

Our rates usually increase each year in line with inflation.  For this reason, our Freelance Orchestral Committee have recommended an increase of 9.1% to be applied from 1 October 2023, which has been accepted and endorsed by the MU’s Executive Committee. MU members can sign up to the Orchestra Section to become eligible to stand for the Freelance Orchestral Committee and become part of this decision making process.

While we advise members to refer to our rates and guidance, members are free to set their rates according to their own criteria.

For further advice on orchestral rates please contact the MU.

Rates of pay effective from 1 October 2023

Concert rates

Tutti Sub-Principal Principal Section Principal
£202.50 £209.50 £220.00 £229.00

Single call (3 hours) on a day other than concert day

Tutti Sub-Principal Principal Section Principal
£122.55 £126.05 £131.30 £135.80

Distance and travel

  • Distance (where transport or travel fare is provided): 28p per mile
  • Travel (where transport is not provided): 56p per mile


  • Basic: £136.00
  • M25 supplement: £61.00

Late return

From midnight until 2:00 am: £34.80

For more information please see the full agreement.

Contact details

National Organiser Orchestras: Jo Laverty
Musicians’ Union, 30 Snowsfields, London, SE1 3SU

020 7840 5570;

Advice for orchestral musicians