The Coachella Valley Symphony will present their gala concert "Rhapsody & Blues" featuring legendary, Grammy® Award winning jazz artist Diane Schuur and piano virtuoso Paul Cracchiolo, Friday, May 5, 2017 at 7:00 pm at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert.
This spectacular evening of inspired music includes excerpts from the original Spider Man movie score along with Barber's Adagio for Strings, which began as the second movement of his String Quartet, Op. 11, composed in 1936 and was premiered for full orchestra by Arturo Toscanini in 1938. 

The talented and luminous pianist Paul Cracchiolo will perform one of the most popular of all American compositions, "Rhapsody in Blue" which in 1924, established George Gershwin's fame as a serious composer. "Hoe Down" from Rodeo, a 1942 American ballet scored by Aaron Copland and choreographed by Agnes de Mille will be part of this brilliant program in addition to a special presentation by the Buddy Rogers Youth Symphony. 

A leading vocalist in contemporary jazz, Diane Schuur is as eclectic as she is brilliant.  Nicknamed "Deedles" as a child (her mother's endearment), Tacoma-born Schuur grew up steeped in traditional American jazz, courtesy of both parents: David Schuur was a local police captain and amateur pianist, and Joanie Schuur kept a formidable collection of Duke Ellington and Dinah Washington albums in their suburban-Seattle home.

"Her voice is impressive in its size, range and brightness.  A song can suddenly fly up an octave into little-girl squeals, and then make a swan dive into the murky depths.  She uses her twirling vibrato as rhythmic punctuation.  After drawing out a note, she dispenses that vibrato like the cherry on a sundae."
        …Stephen Holden, New York Times

Her most recent album is a homage to two of her important mentors, both jazz giants: Frank Sinatra and Stan Getz. I Remember You (With Love To Stan and Frank), released in 2014, also commemorates her "official" discovery by towering sax virtuoso Getz at the 1979 Monterey Jazz Festival. "She's consistently combined fine artistic efforts with the pizazz of an entertainer and held sway in both concert halls and small clubs," observed All About Jazz's Victor L. Schermer in his rave review.  "Her style incorporates both subtle jazz interpretation and the power of rhythm and blues." 

Distinguished producers who have joined forces with Schuur include Phil Ramone (Friends For Schuur), André Fisher (Pure Schuur, In Tribute), Barry Manilow (Midnight), Steve Buckingham (The Gathering), Dave Grusin (Schuur Thing, Deedles, Timeless) Al Schmitt (Blues for Schuur, Love Walked In) and Oscar Castro-Neves (Schuur Fire).

Originally from San Pedro, CA, Paul's journey into music started at the early age of 7 as a student of piano and music theory.  At 17, he took the coveted prize of California State MTA Young Artist Guild Award and debuted as a concert pianist in recital at the MTA State Convention in San Francisco. Paul attended USC as a Piano Performance / Music Education Major, and then furthered his education at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA with a focus in jazz technique. 

As an ambassador in Arts Education, Teaching Artist and Performing Artist, Paul has worked with thousands of young students throughout Southern California with the McCallum Theatre Institute's Aesthetic Education Program in Palm Desert.  Paul also helped develop and was Musical Director for the McCallum Theatre's Imagination Station Children's Summer Theatre Program and has served as the musical director for the McCallum Theatre's Open Call Talent Project for nearly 19 years.  He has performed several Piano Concertos with different symphonies throughout the country and is excited to make his debut with the Coachella Valley Symphony performing George Gershwin's beloved "Rhapsody in Blue."