News Story

On 21 June each year communities all over the world celebrate their ability to make, listen to, and love music.

Gigs, workshops, and campaigns everywhere highlight that anyone can pick up an instrument - music is DIY, it's accessible, and it's for everyone. Join us today for World Music Day 2018 as we pick out some gems from our music programme and show how you could get involved in the performance at our opening event.

Scottish pop is in the spotlight

Under the newly rediscovered roof of Leith Theatre, recently described by The List as, ‘the best live music venue in Scotland’, we are celebrating the vibrant landscape of Scottish contemporary music, from the global icons to local heroes, the curators, the tastemakers, and grassroots festivals.

Who are you likely to catch at Light on the Shore with Edinburgh Gin Seaside? Guitar titans Mogwai for one (22-23 August), or the irreverent The Jesus and Mary Chain (14 August), or SOPHIE (11 August), or The Vaselines (17 August), or King Creosote (9 August), or Django Django (10 August)...

We've teamed up with local outfits Hidden Door (14 August), Neu! Reekie! (12 and 17 August), Lau (18 August), Numbers (11 August), and Celtic Connections (13 August), who will curate their own nights featuring some of their favourite music, and, for one night only, we'll move to the Edinburgh Playhouse where a supergroup of handpicked Scottish musicians will play an orchestrated version of Martyn Bennett's second (and some say best) album, Bothy Culture(21 August).

It's a lot. And it's going to be really special.

A night at the opera

Let's take a quick look at the spectacular productions coming to Edinburgh this August.

First up, we have a double helping of Rossini, whose carousel of disguises in The Barber of Seville (5-8 August) and revamp of the classic fairy tale Cinderella (24-26 August) show off his sparkling wit and propensity for silliness in the music.

You can continue down the fairy tale route with a concert performance of Hansel and Gretel, or enjoy Siegfried, our other concert performance this summer, the third installment of Wagner's Ring Cycle that follows the sensation that was Die Walküre last year.

Fans of contemporary adaptations can look forward to Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord's version of the very first jukebox musical, The Beggar's Opera, which uses popular jaunty folk songs and ballads to tell the outrageous story of highwaymen, thieves, prostitutes, and corrupt politicians.

For any of you first-time opera-goers, we've put together these handy guides below about two of the productions coming to us this August. Have a read to find out what Mrs Doubtfire has to do with The Barber of Seville or what makes Rossini's Cinderella such a formidable damsel.

Opera through the years

In this playlist, we cast our minds back to some of the memorable operas that have come to the International Festival over the decades. Featuring a landmark recording of La Cenerentola, a look at the first two operas we ever staged, and some more of our contemporary favourites...

Weekly playlists

And speaking of playlists, have you sampled our weekly series yet? Each week we release a new list of recommendations from the diverse music available in our programme. You could find yourself listening to John Grant's wry and emotive lyrics one day and finding out what a psychedelic folk band sounds like the next.

Plug in your headphones and have a listen to our most recent playlists below, or click here to view the whole series.

100 years of Leonard Bernstein

This year marks 100 years since the birth of the composer Bernstein, beloved to many and an inspiration to countless musicians. Several of our concerts will celebrate his boundless talent, which produced masterpieces like West Side Story and On the Town.

Marin Alsop pays tribute to her teacher

Alsop knew that she wanted to become a conductor after seeing Bernstein perform at one of his famous Young People's Concerts when she was only nine years old. The passion that he gave to the music was infectious, and years later Alsop would be lucky enough to call him her mentor at the Tanglewood Music Centre in Massachusetts.

On the day of what would have been Bernstein's 100th birthday, 25 August, his ex-student will lead the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (with a guest appearance from violinist Nicola Benedetti) in playing some of the composer's most iconic music. This will be an enthusiastic, affectionate, and at times very witty, look back to an inspiring teacher.

Krystian Zimerman fulfills his promise to an old friend

"Will you play this piece with me when I'm 100?" Bernstein asked Zimerman, following several performances together of his "Symphony No. 2 The Age of Anxiety". On 10 August, the pianist will keep his word to the composer by performing his deeply existential work with the London Symphony Orchestra and led by the conductor Sir Simon Rattle.

Watch Bernstein and Zimerman play the symphony with London Symphony Orchestra during the composer's lifetime below. The smile on Bernstein's face as he draws out so much energy from the piano never gets old.

Catch the performance bug

A group of young singers will help us launch the International Festival on 3 August at Standard Life Aberdeen Opening Event: Five Telegrams by bringing a new commission written by Anna Meredith and 59 Productions to life. Inspired by telegrams written by young soldiers during the First World War and themes of communication, Meredith and the award-winning design company have created a multimedia orchestral score that will be performed and projected outside Usher Hall.

Rehearsals for this have already started, but if you are aged 16-26 and would like to take part you can find out more and apply through our Creative Learning page.

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