IMG’s dodgy owner launches California fest

IMG’s dodgy owner launches California fest


norman lebrecht

January 22, 2016

Barrett Wissman, who owns half of IMG Artists, is planning a festival in Palm Springs.

The artist lineup is impressive: Plácido Domingo and Renée Fleming, Midori and Sarah Chang, cellist Nina Kotova, pianist Jean Yves Thibaudet, guitarist Angel Romero, fashion designers Zandra Rhodes, Michael Costello and Marc Bouwer, and chefs Cat Cora, Gail Gand, and the Hearty Boys.

Wissman has what they call history. Longer history here.

wissman kotova
Mr&Mrs Wissman


  • Nick says:

    Looking at the various IMG Artists Festivals as listed on its website the casual reader would conclude these have been considerable on-going successes. In fact they are remarkable for their lack of longevity. According to the website, “IMG Artists is the first to create the concept of the lifestyle festival . . . Our festival work now reaches across the globe.” Well, the globe was not particularly welcoming it would seem.

    Tuscan Sun Festival – DEAD
    Singapore Sun Festival – DEAD
    Placido Domingo Festval – DEAD
    Divino Tuscany – DEAD

    Will Palm Springs fare any better after its star-studded opening event, I wonder?

    • Nina Kotova says:

      Hi Nick,
      I read your comment. I am a co-founder of some of these festivals you mentioned. My answer is that the governments and the countries where some of these events have been held had the right to decide how long they needed Mr Wissman’s help for. It is often up to the officials to ask for help and to discontinue promotion of classical music in their countries according to their own desire. thank you,

  • C. Squarcialupi says:

    Domingo and Fleming in a casino showroom; Midori in a hospital lecture hall; Sarah Chang, Nina Kotova, Jean Yves Thibaudet, and Angel Romero in a concrete outdoor amphitheatre (where at night in March it can be anywhere from 40-100 degrees F.). What are these people thinking?

    • says:

      Dear C. Squarcialupi!
      ..I loved it about the hospital lecture room!!
      You would enjoy watching my LIVE broadcast from the Red Square playing for the audience of over 100 thousand people and 200 million people watching the live broadcast on television. The temperature outside was just above zero degrees Celsius.



      P.S. By the way, are you coming to the festival?

  • Doug says:

    The lineup looks absolutely predictable…and boring. Obviously it’s just another scheme for the money machine to rake in more cash. Screw the music.

  • Nina Kotova says:

    Mr. Lebrecht,
    Please do apologize to Mr. Wissman for having been using abusive language in your numerous articles directed at him personally.Thank you,
    cellist Nina Kotova

  • Mark Henriksen says:

    Looks like an interesting plan to widen the live classical music audience using star performers packaged with other attractions in a festival. Sounds like a great idea. This appears to be an expansion of the first year’s festival. Best of luck with this!