This Year It’s America

Gershwin, Bernstein, Copland, Barber, Rachmaninov, Dvořák, Joplin, Williams – these are only some of the composers whose music we will have an opportunity to hear in this year’s Polish edition of La Folle Journée. This is already the fifth time the Festival is held in Warsaw. Over three days, from 26 to 28 September, the halls of Teatr Wielki – the National Opera will reverberate with the sound of 55 concerts played by 1000 performers.

La Folle Journée is an international festival which promotes classical music among a largest possible audience. Its idea is to encourage listeners to become interested in classical music. An extensive repertoire, attractive form and excellent musicians make La Folle Journée an exciting event that each year draws an enormous audience in France, Spain, Japan and, since 2010, also in Poland.

The approaching 5th edition of La Folle Journée will present Polish audiences with various shades and flavours of American music. We will hear well-known and liked melodies, hits of film music and fragments of musicals – all performed by excellent artists. The programme includes works by legendary American composers, including Gershwin, Bernstein and Copland, as well as composers who have emigrated and spent a major part of their lives in the United States: Rachmaninov, Korngold and Dvořák. We will also have an opportunity to hear soundtracks from famous film productions, such as Star Wars, The Pink Panther, Schindler’s List, Pearl Harbor and Indiana Jones. For fans of fairy tales we have a concert of music accompanied by screenings of animated films from Walt Disney. La Folle Journée will also feature American popular music, such as jazz standards and Scott Joplin’s ragtimes. Listeners will also be able to take part in a jam session. There will be several opportunities to hear Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Bernstein’s cult musical West Side Story. A stylistic cross-section of American music will be shown in a concert titled From Ragtime to Swing.

For the duration of this extraordinary music marathon, the various auditoriums of Teatr Wielki have been given thematically related names. And so, the Moniuszko Auditorium, the largest hall in the Theatre will be called Manhattan. The Redutowe Rooms have been given the name Hollywood, while the Młynarski Auditorium was dubbed… Wild West. The Festival also makes use of the backstage area of the Moniuszko Auditorium – a beautiful space behind the main stage of the National Opera. Its adopted name is Harlem. The tent in the Theatre Square, in which most young performers’ concerts will be played, is called Matrix.

The Festival features artists from Poland, and from many corners of the world. On the first day, we will have a chance to hear the great American Gordon Goodwin Trio. The La Folle Journée Festival also showcases young talents. There will be concerts by students from the ten best music schools from, among others, Bydgoszcz, Gdańsk, Częstochowa, Lublin and Warsaw.

The Festival programme also includes concerts for the youngest listeners. Special concerts for children aged 0-2 and 2-5 are called: Smykofonia: Dixieland and Smykofonia in America.

This year’s La Folle Journée Festival also offers educational activities. The Meeting with Instruments series continues from last year and a new event, called Meeting – “American Music Education…” will feature persons who have experienced American music education in person.

The Festival is preceded by the Labyrinth Event – a cycle of three-month workshops intended to promote classical music among the youngest elementary school students and their teachers.

A wealth of musical treats has drawn a continually growing crowd of listeners to the Festival. Last year, the Polish edition of La Folle Journée boasted an audience of 37 000. Festival tickets are priced 7 to 12 zł and some concerts and events are free. To quote the organisers: “La Folle Journée is a meeting with music to which everyone, without exception, is invited.”

Szalone Dni Muzyki
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