La Folle Journée “Towards a New World” – Musical Madness Drew Crowds
More than 38 000 listeners attended the 9th edition of the La Folle Journée Festival! In the course of three days, the halls and rooms of Teatr Wielki – the National Opera and the Festival tent in Teatralny Square held 55 concerts featuring nearly 1000 artists from all over the world. The Festival also offered many musical attractions for persons of all ages.
Having visited France, Japan and Russia, the largest travelling classical music festival in the world reached Warsaw on the last weekend of September. Organised for the ninth time by the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra, the Polish edition drew tens of thousands of listeners eager to experience a musical feast. Janusz Marynowski, the director of the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra relates the numbers: This year, 15 symphony orchestras from all over Poland performed at the Festival, with 18 conductors directing the concerts. There were also 26 soloists and 12 chamber ensembles from all over the world. The whole event was coordinated and produced by a staff of more than 100, including 44 volunteers.
The theme of this year’s Festival was “Towards a New World”. Programmes of the concerts included works by composers who had to leave their homes for various reasons and search for a “new world” to be able to live and compose. Works by Dvořák, Rachmaninov, Chopin and Paderewski were performed by, among others, Sinfonia Varsovia, the National Philharmonic Orchestra and the “Amadeus” Polish Radio Chamber Orchestra. Soloists included such renowned musicians as Tomasz Konieczny, Alena Baeva and Emmanuel Rossfelder, and also talented artists of the young generation: Piotr Orzechowski „Pianohooligan”, Kuba Więcek and Adam Bałdych. Apart from concerts of symphonic and chamber music, there were also attractive special events for our youngest listeners and for families with children.
The Festival has revolutionised the world of classical music by promoting it and drawing numerous new listeners to the concert halls. During the opening concert , the founder and artistic director of the Festival, René Martin, was awarded the title and badge of distinguished service to the city of Warsaw. In her speech, head of the Council of the Capital City of Warsaw Ewa Malinowska-Grupińska emphasised his achievements to the benefit of not only the city, but also in the promotion of Polish culture abroad. At all festivals directed by René Martin all over the world, Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra played nearly 1000 concerts, of which 654 took place in the individual editions of the La Folle Journée Festival.
The Festival’s final concert was also a truly festive occasion, with awards given to laureates of the “A Warsaw Polonaise for an Independent Poland” competition, organised by the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra on an initiative of the head of the Council of the Capital City of Warsaw Ewa Malinowska-Grupińska. The winner of the competition was Emil Wojtacki, with 2nd place awarded to Paweł Siek and the 3rd prize was given to Ireneusz Boczek. Furthermore, the jury, headed by Krzysztof Penderecki, provided a special prize to the youngest participant of the competition, the 12-year old Adam Józef Falenta. The winning works were performed on Saturday, the second day of the Festival, during a special concert devoted to their first performances. At the end of the concert the city authorities invited all listeners to join in the Warsaw Polonaise Procession, led by President of Warsaw Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz.
The organisers of the Festival would like everyone to join them in the 10th anniversary edition of the Festival which will take place on the last weekend of September 2019.