La Folle Journée
La Folle Journée is an international festival held annually since 1995 and conceived and founded by René Martin – organiser of festivals and numerous concerts of classical music around the world. He is also the founder of the Centre de Realisations et d’Etudes Artistiques à Nantes (C.R.E.A.). The La Folle Journée Festival has been successfully held for many years in France, Spain, Japan and Brazil. It enjoys great popularity and has earned a permanent place in the cultural life of these countries’ communities.
The idea of La Folle Journée is to overcome prejudice to classical music by encouraging and facilitating involvement in concerts while presenting music at the highest possible artistic level. Short concerts take place from morning to night in many halls simultaneously. Ticket prices are low and an extraordinary atmosphere makes La Folle Journée a meeting with music to which everyone, without exception, is invited. The festival was held in Warsaw for the eighth time. The previous editions: Chopin Open (2010), Les Titans (2011), Russia (2012) and Music of France and Spain (2013), “America” (2014), “Passions of Heart and Soul” (2015), “Nature” (2016) and “La Danse” (2017) have met with great interest and enthusiasm of Polish audiences. The ingenious works of the greatest composers attracted a record number of 40 000 listeners. 950 performers played 57 concerts in the course of three days. The La Folle Journée Festival is organised in Poland by the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra, the Center for Arts Education, C.R.E.A. and by the Ogrody Muzyczne Foundation.
La Folle Journée Concept Why this title?
La Folle Journée is the subtitle of Beaumarchais’ The Marriage of Figaro, this audacious theatre play – undisputed masterpiece of French and international literature which, through the denunciation of the French Nobility archaical privileges, would be considered as one of the precursors to the French Revolution. It is this very same theatre play that would inspire Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro.
This title La Folle Journée has been chosen by René Martin as it very well corresponded to the revolutionary concept he wanted to give to this outstanding musical project. La Folle Journée has indeed, since 1995, truly turned the world of classical music upside down – a world which had been up to now not really accessible to a very large audience.
La Folle Journée: an original and audacious concept
Unique cultural event of its kind, La Folle Journée offers to desacralize classical music in order to reach as many people as possible while always keeping artistic excellence in mind.
The festival was created in Nantes (France) in 1995 by René Martin, artistic director of the Center for Artistic Research and Creation (CREA). Each year, for five days, it gathers in La Cité-Nantes Events Center around 300 concerts with a maximum length of 45 minutes and welcomes some of the greatest artists in the world (around 2 000 for each edition). A new theme is developed every year, be it dedicated to a composer or a major musical movement.
Since 2003, La Folle Journée has also been taking place in 11 cities of the Pays-de-la-Loire Region and thus enjoys a resounding success which ranks him among the most important international classical music festivals. This event also reached the shores of Bilbao, Warsaw, Rio of Janeiro and five different Japanese cities (Tokyo, Niigata, Kanazawa, Biwako and Tosu). It will soon reach Ekaterinburg.
Although a popular event, La Folle Journée is nevertheless built on strict artistic principles, which are the key to its resounding success. Its greatest satisfaction is to break down the prejudices surrounding classical music whilst preserving its inherent values, offering a better understanding of music and musicians without yielding to over-hasty popularisation and opening up new horizons without imposing a sole approach.
La Folle Journée thus combines three assets:
Making concerts more accessible
La Folle Journée seeks to draw the concert out its conventional setting in order to break down the barriers that surround it. Each performance therefore lasts no longer than 45 minutes, allowing the audience to concentrate on one particular work whilst the profusion of concerts over the three days makes it easy to renew one’s “musical experience” as often as one wishes.
Unity of time and place
In the space of a weekend the spectator will move from one concert room to the others, making for instance a halt in the main auditorium and then to the conference room. The acoustic of each location is perfectly suited to the size and type of performance given there. La Folle Journée offers to the audience concerts, projects, conferences, films, public radio broadcasts, catering facilities, records and books.
The artists La Folle Journée is a unique alchemy of several thousands of musicians from France and elsewhere, artists in demand from all over the world and guest musicologists shedding light on composers and their works.
The objectives of such an event are both bold and ambitious since it is not a question of:
– accumulating concerts for the sake of quantity,
– “flicking” between extracts of different works,
– selecting “highlights” at any cost but rather of: – encouraging the emergence of a new public, making concerts within the reach of everyone in particular through exceptionally low prices, – awakening the desire to learn about a composer, preparing the discovery of a work by listening to extracts in the main auditorium of the Cité, – thus prompting an enthusiasm and a curiosity for music that go far beyond the confines of La Folle Journée.