Just mad for music
Parisian classical sounds head to Tokyo in May for the ninth edition of 'La Folle Journee au Japon'
Classical music fans will be treated to a festival of exhilarating concerts when Paris' golden age of music meets the Golden Week holiday period during this year’s "La Folle Journee au Japon" in Tokyo.
This year’s event will focus on Paris around the turn of the 20th century when the French capital reached its musical heights.
The event will be held at the Tokyo International Forum from May 3-5 and tickets are now on sale. It will be the ninth time the event will be held in the Japanese capital.
Besides featuring famous French composers such as Gabriel Faure, Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel and Erik Satie, the event will also offer pieces by Isaac Albeniz, Manuel de Falla and other Spanish composers who were active in Paris.
Works by Olivier Messiaen, Pierre Boulez and other French contemporary composers also will be performed.
The festival is modelled after La Folle Journee (The Follies of a Day), a classical music festival in Nantes, France. Inaugurated in 1995, the original series comprises a variety of concerts - including free events - aimed at diverse audiences and based on an annual theme. Attendance at the Nantes festival has increased yearly.
At the Tokyo festival, the Paris-based Orchestre Lamoureux, which premiered Debussy's "La Mer" and Ravel's "Bolero", will perform popular pieces from the late 19th to early 20th centuries under the baton of Musical Director Faycal Karoui.
The chamber orchestra Sinfonia Varsovia conducted by Jean-Jacques Kantorow will perform Georges Bizet's "Carmen" as well as works by Faure, Ernest Chausson and Paul Dukas.
The festival will also feature Paris-based composers with links to Spain such as Joaquin Rodrigo. Guitarist Kaori Muraji and violinist Kyoko Takezawa will perform.
World-renowned guitarist Juan Manuel Canizares will offer such instrumental pieces as Rodrigo's "Concierto de Aranjuez" and appear daily to accompany flamenco dancers.
Performances highlighting the extraordinary skills of castanet soloist Lucero Tena on May 4-5 are highly anticipated.
The Ensemble InterContemporain founded by Boulez will perform in Japan for the first time in 18 years. Boulez's masterwork "Sur Incises" under the baton of Susanna Malkki will be featured on May 3 and May 5.
The orchestra will also offer pieces by Bruno Mantovani, Tristan Murail, Philippe Manoury and other major French contemporary composers. Popular Ravel and Debussy works are on the menu.
Pianist Boris Berezovsky, violinist Fanny Clamagirand and flutist Shigenori Kudo will perform Saint-Saens' "The Carnival of the Animals" on May 4-5 with a whimsical touch - animated drawings by celebrated Polish animator Mariusz Wilczynski will be projected onto a screen to lend colour to the performances. The collaboration between music and visual images was artistic director Rene Martin's idea.
The festival will also feature well-known Japanese artists such as pianists Mami Hagiwara, Etsuko Hirose and Kotaro Fukuma; cellist Dai Miyata; guitarist Daisuke Suzuki; harpist Naoko Yoshino; and soprano Sara Kobayashi.
Ensemble Musica Nigella, led by France-based horn player Takenori Nemoto, and the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra led by conductor Kentaro Kawase also will perform.
Four other venues
More than 40 concerts will be offered daily during the three-day event in Tokyo, which runs from 10am to 11pm.
Discounted student tickets are available for selected concerts, including those by the Ensemble InterContemporain.
Visit www.lfj.jp/lfj_2013 for more details and ticket information. Site is viewable in Japanese and English.
In addition to the Tokyo event, similar festivals will be held in:
Niigata, April 26-28
Otsu, April 28-29 (see also http://lfjb.biwako-hall.or.jp, in Japanese only)
Kanazawa, May 3-4
Tosu, Saga Prefecture, May 5-6