Art and Culture Dominate the Inaugural Festival of the Desert

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Renee Fleming and Philippe Jordan
Renee Fleming and Philippe Jordan

Photo Credit: David Crotty / Festival of the Desert

Festival of the Desert brought a dose of upscale culture to the Coachella Valley last week for its inauguration.

Unlike Coachella and Stagecoach—music-centric festivals focusing on everything from EDM and rock to country—Festival of the Desert focused on the fine arts.

Barrett Wissman
Barrett Wissman

Photo Credit: David Crotty / Festival of the Desert

Famed soprano Renée Fleming was the star of the program, performing with Paris Opera’s Music Director Maestro Philippe Jordan at the piano, while a dance program was curated by American and Bolshoi Ballet’s Principal Dancer, David Hallberg.

Music icon Quincy Jones curated a jazz music program, while the likes of guitarist Angel Romero, pianists Christopher Taylor, Justin Kauflin, Alfredo Rodriguez, and Mikhail Korzhev, dancers Maria Kowroski, Veronika Part and Amar Ramansar, soprano Ilana Davidson and the Rossetti String Quartet all performed.

Cat Cora
Cat Cora

Photo Credit: David Crotty / Festival of the Desert

Michael Kaiser, former President of the Kennedy Center for the Arts, led a discussion on the future of fine arts, while celebrity chef Cat Cora offered up a haute culinary experience for the festivalgoers.

The Festival of the Desert launch was produced by Barrett Wissman, Chairman of IMG Artists; Philippe Jordan served as the Festival’s Music Director.

Maria Kowroski
Maria Kowroski

Photo Credit: David Crotty / Festival of the Desert

The events took place at the McCallum Theatre and the Sunnylands Center & Gardens in the Coachella Valley.

“The launch of the Festival of the Desert provided the ultimate experience for those who appreciate the fine arts,” said Wissman. “We had something for everyone, whether for the music lover, the dance enthusiastic, or the food and wine aficionado. We can’t wait for the first edition next year of the full-length Festival.”

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