Chelsea Music Fest Returns With a Week of French-Japanese Fusion

By Mathew Katz on June 15, 2012 1:09pm 

A performance at the 2011 Chelsea Music Festival.
A performance at the 2011 Chelsea Music Festival.
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Chelsea Music Festival/Matt Harrington

CHELSEA — Paris and Tokyo are moving into Chelsea.

This year's Chelsea Music Festival, kicking off Friday night, will feature world-class musicians paying tribute to France and Japan, along with food that highlights the fusion of the two cultures.

The week-long fest will also commemorate the 150th anniversary of the birth of French composer Claude Debussy's, whose songs were influenced by Japanese art.

The festival includes musical performances, themed culinary nights, panels, family events and free outdoor shows throughout the neighborhood from June 15 to 23.

"We're incorporating three layers of creative genres, which are performing, visual, and culinary arts," said co-artistic director Ken-David Masur.

"We want to involve people in these three areas for tasting, hearing, and seeing like never before."

Now in its third year, the festival will also celebrate the centennial of the U.S. Cherry Blossom Festival.

Several of the performances will also feature post-concert culinary receptions designed by Food Network Chef Lance Nitahara.

Each reception will have a three to four course hors d'oeuvre menu, including potato crusted hamachi with celery remoulade and a cherry blossom terra cotta.

"All of it is French-Japanese fusion," Masur said. "It's not just the visual, the theme's been incorporated in the taste as well."

Over 80 artists will perform throughout the festival, including the Adam Brinbaum Trio, which will cover Debussy's most popular works with a jazz twist on June 23 at 7:30 p.m at the Eyebeam Art+ Technology Center, 540 W. 21st St.

The fest will also host a series of free shows at noon throughout the week at Union Square Park, Hudson River Park and the High Line.

The multimedia shows will move beyond music, organizers said. Japanese visual artist Makoto Fujimura will combine a piano performance with projected images as part of Messiaen Enveloped at the Dillon Gallery, 555 W 25th St., on June 17th at 5 p.m.

A full listing of festival events can be found at the event's website. Tickets range from $15 to $65 and can be purchased online.

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