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Barrett Wissman – The Medici of the 21st Century

At a time when there is an outcry at how much fine arts and refined music has been neglected, and how the art industry has turned into a moneymaking machine riddled with the cheap tastes and easy profit seeking record labels, an entrepreneur and American impresario is changing the rules of the game. Barrett Wissman is not only a business visionary, but also a patron of the arts who could easily be described as the Medici of the 21st century.

Barrett Wissman is an individual who sees innovation in differentiation. Attempting to convey a new meaning for performance arts, Barrett decided at an early stage to start his own festival, not in Edinburgh or Milan, but in a calm rustique village all but familiar with prestigious music performances.

Barrett Wissman has been leading a paradigm shift in performing arts monopoly. Shifting from conventional settings and trying to bring arts and music to new places, Barrett vowed to promote refined arts and world class performances as universal and borderless. Starting with a small performance in Tuscany in an abandoned 18th century opera house, the festival soon turned into the globally acclaimed “Tuscan Sun Festival”. Wissman’s genius was soon sought across the globe as he was asked to launch a festival in North California that turned to become the Napa Valley Festival del sole.

“It’s a mission in my life to have more and more people enjoy and love the arts.”

Barrett Wissman’s passion is unequivocal and only matched by his business know-how. In order to reach a wider audience and take his work to the next level, Barrett is also the visionary behind IMG artists, an artists management firm that represents more award-winners and global best-sellers than any other company in the world.

With 500 artists, 200 specialists, 30 years of experience, 10 offices, 6 divisions, 5 continents, Barrett invested time and effort into turning the company from a one among many to a leading player in the performance art scene. The story doesn’t end here. Barrett Wissman helped turn IMG artists into a comprehensive one stop shop firm for art. Among the services IMG put in place are Ballets, events planning and recently the world’s largest fireworks celebration in Dubai. IMG manages some of the greatest companies spanning across the discipline, from the grand Bolshoi Ballet and National Ballet of Canada to the innovative LA Dance Compnany, Gallim and Ballet Black. IMG also books and manages tours for the world’s most prestigious orchestras and ensembles including the Vienna Philharmonic, The Cleveland orchestra and the London symphony orchestra.

How do you distinguish yourself from the dozens of festivals taking place across the globe? Barrett has an answer for that as well!

IMG is not only about music, but also about a wholesome experience for the senses. Bringing music and performance, fine food and wine, film, art, literature and wellness together in stunning locations, providing unparalleled, luxurious experiences that stimulate each of the senses is what makes Barrett’s festivals so special.

Festivals set by Wissman are meant to delight all the senses, that is why you not only enjoy refined music and arts, but also exquisite meals, stunning settings and elite companionship during the events. “It’s meant to be a festival of all the senses. Sight, sound, smell, taste – everything together”

The entrepreneur in Barrett has done well expanding IMG’s operations and scope, but the artist within also proved useful in introducing IMG and the Festival del Sol to new lands.

Under Barrett’s leadership, IMG helped develop events worldwide, form the Abu Dhabi festival and Festival of the Arts Boca to the Placido domingo festival and others. Moreover, IMG helped develop world-class performing arts and lifestyle centers like the Star in Singapore, Napa Valley performing arts centre at Lincoln theater and the west Kowloon cultural district

With success comes the fear of arrogance and delusion of grandeur, something Barrett has avoided eagerly on a personal and cultural level.

“It would be arrogant for us to come in with all-western music. The collaboration between western and eastern music and arts is one of our driving philosophies. To show that performance arts lives within all boundaries is our core value. We cannot claim the world is our stage unless we actually work towards that goal.”

Deepening the commitment to cultural development in emerging markets is one of Barrett’s agenda points, because artistic expression is one of the most efficient ways to fight against the vices spreading in various social settings. Fighting hate and violence with love, music and the celebration of human artistic creativity is far more powerful than weapons and tanks.

This brief outlook on Barrett Wissman’s life and philosophy reminds us that there are visionaries out there promoting great tastes and leading the way when so many refuse to. Barrett sums up eloquently what a leader, as he is, should strive for:

“One has to lead. When doing something important. No matter what your job is, no matter what your work is, you have to lead.

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