La Folle Journée au Japon 2024


May 3rd–5th (Friday – Sunday, consecutive national holidays) Tokyo International Forum, Otemachi/Marunouchi/Yurakucho, Tokyo Station area, Kyobashi, Ginza, Yaesu, Hibiya
Organizer: LA FOLLE JOURNÉE TOKYO 2024 Steering Committee
(MITSUBISHI ESTATE / Tokyo International Forum / KAJIMOTO)
Planning and Production: CREA / KAJIMOTO

What's LFJ?

What is La Folle Journée ?

What is La Folle Journée ?

La Folle Journée is a classical music festival which was born in 1995 in the French western port town of Nantes. The name of the festival refers to the play by Pierre Beaumarchais, The Marriage of Figaro, whose alternative title is The Follies of a Day. As its name, it is one of the most exciting musical festivals in Europe and in the world. Each year a new theme is given by which composers and pieces are chosen. In the convention centre “Cité des congrès Nantes”, there are 9 halls, where multiple concerts of 45 minutes in length are held simultaneously from morning until night. Artists include young and upcoming, to world renown, 300 concerts in 5 days! You can choose concerts you like and spend the whole day immersed in music!
Tickets are at a surprisingly low price from 6 euros to 30 euros (about 700 to 3000 yen). The Artistic Director, René Martin’s wish was to attract a new audience that could be a part of supporting music while enjoying top quality concerts in this unique carefree setting. 60% of the visitors are first timers to classical concerts including many children.
The unique concept of La Folle Journée has expanded worldwide with festivals taking place in Lisbon, Portugal from 2000, Bilbao, Spain from 2002, and Tokyo, Japan from 2005. La Folle Journée was also held in Kanazawa, Japan and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2008, Niigata and Lake Biwa, Japan, Warsaw, Poland in 2010, Tosu City Japan in 2011, and Ekaterinburg, Russia in 2015 which all brought sensational success in each city.

The evolution of the “Classical music revolution” in Tokyo.

The evolution of the “Classical music revolution” in Tokyo.

La Folle Journée was born in 1995 in the French port town of Nantes and came to Japan in 2005 as « La Folle Journée au Japon ». In 2007, there were over 1 million visitors, and in 2023 a total of 8.84 million visitors from its beginning in 2005, becoming the world’s largest classical music festival. In 2015, traditional themes were revamped by, for example, featuring the festival on one composer. Each year a unique theme is selected, creating programs that delve beyond generation, genre and country, enhancing the encounter with music with adventure and discovery. Since 2018, the music festival’s name changed from “La Folle Journée au Japon” to “La Folle Journée TOKYO” together with a new logo designed by the creative director Kashiwa Sato, revitalizing the festival’s identity.

How the Festival Got Its Name.

How the Festival Got Its Name.

When René Martin planned the first festival in 1995, the theme was “Mozart.” The concept was to hold a two-day concert in multiple venues where music was played around the clock, a music festival that was truly festive. He got his inspiration for its name from Beaumarchais’ play La Folle Journée, or Le Mariage de Figaro (The Mad Day or The Marriage of Figaro). Mozart based his opera upon this play, which was published in 1784. It was a revolutionary work that overturned the values of its day and is even said to have lit the fuse for the French Revolution. Its title La Folle Journée was a perfect match for René Martin’s dream of sweeping away the various barriers that keep people away from classical music. The poster for the first La Folle Journée showed a silhouette of Mozart’s thumbing his nose humorously. It was an image of Mozart, the iconoclast who defied the conventions of his day.

Six Charms of La Folle Journée

1) An innovative theme is proposed every year
2) The length of each concert is only 45 minutes: audience can catch several concerts if they wish and experience a variety of concerts all day from morning to evening
3) Concerts by top international artists are offered at low prices
4) A variety of free events are proposed
5) From families with babies to ardent music lovers, listeners from all kinds of backgrounds can enjoy live performances in a relaxed setting
6) A great festivity that fills the city with music

René Martin

Artistic Director René Martin

Main Features of La Folle Journée 2024

La Folle Journée (LFJ) 2024 will return to the "origins" of music. The spotlight will be on the various musical traditions that have inspired composers from all corners of the globe over the centuries.
Even J.S. Bach, who truly deserves the name "Father of Music," inherited a long musical tradition deeply rooted in the melting pot of time and civilization. And every composer since him, from every continent, from every country, has used this ancient heritage as the basis for the elaboration of his own musical language and the creation of his works.

LFJ2024 will explore this extremely rich theme from three main angles.

A famous example of the exploration of "origins" through music is the "Musical nationalism" that flourished in Russia, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, France, and Spain from the mid-19th century onward. This movement saw the value in the infinite richness of traditions that had emerged from the souls of peoples long ago, and these various traditions have long influenced and intermingled with each other, fertile ground for the imagination of composers. LFJ2024 will feature a variety of music representative of this major trend. Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, Smetana, Dvořák, Kodály, Bartók, Grieg, Sibelius, Albéniz, Ravel, and Bizet, among others, drew inspiration from the boundless wealth of popular music from around the world and left their masterpieces.

The theme of music's "origin" also directs our attention to transition in musical forms. LFJ2024 will present a program that will provide answers to this question.
LFJ2024 will also look at the origins of musical instruments. How did the instruments we know today come into being, and how have they changed over time? The human breath was the origin of all music. What instrument embodies the breath, or the origins of the world, more than the flute which along with the lyre, is considered one of the oldest instruments in the world? For example, the "oud", which originated in Babylon 2,000 years ago, is the symbolic stringed instrument of the Arab/Persian cultural sphere and has been played for centuries. The "duduk," a woodwind instrument that plays the songs of the Armenian soul, enchants us with its unique sound.

LFJ2024 will also feature pioneering works that, through their outrageous innovations, have blazed new trails and changed the course of music history. Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons," Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring," and Bernstein's "West Side Story" are prime examples.

LFJ2024 will present an original project on this inspirational theme.

René Martin
Artistic Director LFJ