Michael Schivo is celebrating his 50th year in the concert promotion business. When Jazz took a somewhat back seat to rock 'n roll and rhythm and blues, Schivo turned the tables to implement Jazz's continuous rise in popularity.

Some authoritative business figures in Las Vegas have said Schivo was ahead of his time. Others have admired his foresight in concentrating on diverse musical cultures and managing to promote a wide variety of styles. In summation, he has over- come adversity through the years. He produces a concert, festival, or special event much as a painter creates a masterpiece.

Starting with a pencil sketch outline of the artists, venues and marketing plan, Schivo proceeds with the care and patience of a sculptor as he puts each piece of the production in the right place. Schivo's day may start as early as 5:00 a.m.

The journey started in 1966 when Michael Schivo Presents brought to the Las Vegas Convention Center some of the first rock concerts ever to play Las Vegas. The stars of the day were Three Dog Night, Steppenwolf, and Jethro Tull, starting the ball rolling and filling the 7,500 seat Convention Center Rotunda with tickets priced a mere $3.50. Today, that is not even the price of a ticket service charge.

Since that time, Schivo has produced events in all of Las Vegas' premier venues, The Thomas and Mack Center, 18,000 seats, The Alladin Theater for the Performing Arts, 7,000 seats, and Artemus Ham Concert Hall, 1,900 seats, as well as many Las Vegas showrooms up and down the Las Vegas Strip. Additionally, Schivo has had long running outdoor events at The State of Nevada's Spring Mountain State Park and The City of Las Vegas' Hill's Park Amphitheater at Summerlin, Desert Breeze Park as well as other jazz/pop venues throughout the country.

Schivo has worked with such notable acts as Metallica, Chicago, Aerosmith, U2, Van Halen, Tom Petty, Journey, Heart, Hall and Oates, Def Leppard, Kiss, Genesis, AC-DC, Luther Vandross, Manhatten Transfer and many others.

All of these musical greats were brought to Las Vegas by Schivo, paving the way for hotels to introduce them as headliners. Schivo has temporarily put rock 'n roll on the back burner after producing hundreds of concerts, and is concentrating on his jazz shows and series, as well as corporate events nationwide. But his first love is still Jazz.

In 1980 Michael Schivo began a parallel career with Jazz while still promoting rock concerts. He was truly excited to have the opportunity to produce some of the first contemporary Jazz concerts in Las Vegas. He recognized the cultural differences immediately.

"Rock 'n roll has a way of shouting at you," says Schivo, "while Jazz speaks to you in an artistic fashion.

Now in his 38th season of producing jazz in Las Vegas and he has extended his concerts over the years to Reno, Seattle, Denver, Albuquerque, Portland, Spokane, Southern California, St. Louis, Oklahoma City, Salt Lake City, and Phoenix and was instrumental in producing the first Jazz festival in the Republic of China in 1993.

Schivo has a great grasp of who the contemporary Jazz fan is and how their lifestyles work. Some of the current Jazz greats with whom Schivo associates are Diana Krall, Stanley Clark, Spyro Gyra, Kirk Waylam the late Grover Washington Jr., Fourplay, Rick Braun, David Sanborn, Larry Carlton, Boney James, Mindi Abair, Wayman Tisdale, The Rippingtons, Richard Elliot, Hugh Masakela, Mike Phillips and Tom Scott just to name a few.

Twenty-Four years ago Schivo instituted the Las Vegas City of Lights Jazz and R&B Festival. The festival has expanded to a second day with a Rhythm and Blues day and night show. This year's festival is on Saturday, April 16th and Sunday, April 17th, 2016 at our new location at Government Amphitheater.

Past Jazz and R&B stalwarts that have graced the festival include: The legendary Jazz Crusaders, Norman Brown, Chaka Chan, KEM, Lediesi, Eric Benet, Tank, Will Downing, Boney James, Gerald Albright, Fattburger, Larry Carlton, Poncho Sanchez, Flora Purim and Airoto, Ronnie Laws, The Yellowjackets, Hugh Masakeia, Chuck Mangione, Alex Bugneon, Hirosima, Lee Ritenour , Randy Crawford and Brenda Russell, the list is very long.

Schivo comments, "Last year's festival was an extreme success, spiraling the 24th Annual City of Lights Jazz & Rhythm and Blues Festival into a very special light, and as our Festival continues to gain momentum, it will rank with the likes of all first-rate European and big -city- USA spring and summer Jazz & Rhythm and Blues Festivals, perhaps more so because Las Vegas is truly a one-of-a-kind city."

Schivo has been well entrenched in contemporary Jazz the past 37 years, yet his desire to be affiliated with the arts is just beginning to take shape. He found himself producing national touring comedy ballets and serious ballets in 1993 and 1994 in Las Vegas, San Francisco and Seattle. He now focuses his thoughts in the direction of orchestral symphonies and soloists such as ltzhak Perlman, one of the world's master violinists. Schivo admits that being another Sol Hurok is unlikely, although he does feel he is contributing by producing artistic events that add to the Las Vegas cultural community.

Schivo has survived, and he is celebrating his 50th year in the entertainment business, a business that eliminates upstarts within the first year or two. What exactly are his survival techniques and what constitutes his success?

"Surviving is a matter of not taking yourself too seriously," he says. "One needs to have a sense of humor in the entertainment business. You've got to keep a smile on your face, win, lose or draw, and enjoy what you've created. There's nothing more rewarding than the resounding assurance of an applauding crowd.



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