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Festival 2015 is launched

Today Fergus Linehan, unveiled the 2015 Edinburgh International Festival  his first programme as Festival Director.

Festival 2015 runs from Friday 7 August to Monday 31 August and welcomes over 2,300 artists from 39 nations to perform in Scotland’s magnificent capital city.

This year’s Festival opens with a large, free, public outdoor event which sees a spectacular digitally animated artwork projected onto the front of the Usher Hall, set to music. The Harmonium Project, outside the Usher Hall celebrates Edinburgh’s relationship with architecture, learning, music and its role in developing technology. 59 Productions, which combines technology and art to amazing effect will create an event which celebrates 50 years of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus, setting a recording of the Chorus, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and principal conductor Peter Oundjian performing John Adams’s Harmonium to stunning visuals projected onto the outside of the Hall. The images are formed by data gathered at the University of Edinburgh as part of its research into wearable technologies and facial mapping as well as its work with the Edinburgh Festival Chorus on the physical impact of singing. 

Opera in 2015 sees two very different approaches to opera and to Mozart. Director Barrie Kosky, Komische Oper, and British theatre company 1927 have created a spectacular boundary-busting production of The Magic Flute, blending animated film and live action.  Iván Fischer’s The Marriage of Figaro with the Budapest Festival Orchestra and a fantastic line up of soloists, breaks down the staged production and puts the orchestra and conductor on stage to assist in the dramatic action. Opera in Concert  at the Usher Hall celebrates satirical works with Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress performed by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Sir Andrew Davis, and Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore performed by Scottish Opera and Richard Egarr. The Festival presents the world premiere of Donnacha Dennehy’s The Last Hotel marking great Irish playwright Enda Walsh’s first opera libretto.

Dance this year brings big names to the Festival. Sylvie Guillem brings her Life in Progress with new works by Akram Khan and Russell Maliphant,  a Sadler’s Wells production. Recent collaborator with Akram, Israel Galván brings his new, revolutionary form of flamenco. Two major European ballet companies Ballett Zürich and Ballett am Rhein bring very different contemporary programmes featuring choreography by Wayne McGregor and Christian Spuck in the first, and a setting of Mahler’s Seventh Symphony by Martin Schläpfer with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra playing live in the second. And choreographer and theatre maker Alain Platel and les ballets C de la B and NTGent bring a celebration of brass bands in En avant, marche!

Theatre showcases world premieres and commissions from some of the best theatre makers working in English language theatre, with new work from Complicite and Simon McBurney, Robert Lepage and Ex Machina, Citizens Theatre and David Greig and Graham Eatough, and Ivo van Hove and Juliette Binoche joining forces in Antigone. The Volksbühne Berlin makes its first appearance at the Festival with visual artist Dieter Roth’s ‘unstageable play’ Murmel Murmel, a great success in Berlin. And for the first time the Festival will lend its profile and reach as an international showcase to already proven successful Scottish work, this year presenting Dragon and Paul Bright’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner.

Great names in classical music flock to Edinburgh this summer in a programme of 51 concerts and recitals. Long established Festival favourites including Iván Fischer, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Sir Andrew Davis, William Christie, Valery Gergiev and Donald Runnicles all return in 2015, joined by Gianandrea Noseda, Robin Ticciati and Vasily Petrenko on the podium. 2015 marks the first Festival appearances of major international soloists Yuja Wang, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Rudolf Buchbinder, Colin Currie and Lang Lang.

Festival 2015 fills the Usher Hall with great music starting with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra performing Brahms in the Opening Concert with Donald Runnicles and the Edinburgh Festival Chorus, and concluding with the ground-shaking The Rite of Spring performed by the London Symphony Orchestra and Valery Gergiev on Sunday 30 August. In between a packed programme of international and UK artists includes Michael Tilson Thomas conducting the San Francisco Symphony with the ground-breaking St. Lawrence String Quartet making its first Edinburgh appearance, the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra makes a welcome return under the direction of Vasily Petrenko, Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, and the Budapest Festival Orchestra conducted by the superb Iván Fischer.

Celebrated Austrian pianist Rudolf Buchbinder plays all 32 of Beethoven’s piano sonatas, around 10 hours of incredible music. Fantastic young performers onstage at the Usher Hall include Anne-Sophie Mutter’s Virtuosi, the European Union Youth Orchestra, the National Youth Choir of Scotland and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

The line up for the late evening Hub Sessions is a mix of jazz, alternate, folk influenced and fusion music. Artists appearing include Chilly Gonzales featuring Kaiser Quartett, Robert Glasper Trio, Jason Moran’s All Rise – A Joyful Elegy for Fats Waller, King Creosote’s From Scotland with Love, Anna Calvi and Heritage Orchestra, Oneohtrix Point Never and his score for Magnetic Rose and Bullet Hell Abstraction IV, Alexi Murdoch, Wave Movements by Richard Reed Parry and Bryce Dessner performed by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra with images by Hiroshi Sugimoto, and Sufjan Steven’s score for Aaron and Alex Craig’s film Round-Up performed by Yarn/Wire.

There are some great one night only music events across the Festival; Max Richter, Daniel Hope and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra joining to perform Recomposed and Memoryhouse; (FFS) Franz Ferdinand & Sparks in a rare live performance, and Sufjan Stevens kicking off his European tour for Carrie & Lowell at the Edinburgh Playhouse.

You can see the full programme here. Tickets go on sale to the public on Saturday 28 March.

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