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Sep. 19, 2017
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70th Edinburgh International Festival held (Aug. 7 – 28, 2017)
The first chairman of the Edinburgh International Festival, Sir John Falconer, the Lord Provost of Edinburgh said the festival should, “provide a platform for the flowering of the human spirit.” This year the Edinburgh Festival celebrated its 70th anniversary. As part of the celebrations of this milestone year, the festival launched a new website ( introducing a selection of the memorable performance from its 70-year history. Among the episodes introduced are the stories of how conductor Bruno Walter, who had fled Nazi repression in his native Germany and came to conduct the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra for the first time in the postwar era and the moment when the music of the Czech Philharmonic at a time when the Czechoslovakia was still behind the Iron Curtain. Invited to the festival to perform this year were some 2,020 artists from 40 countries. In his third year as the festival’s artistic director, Fergus Linehan prepared a program not only of the performing arts of opera, dance and theater but also featured his own specialty, contemporary music.
Featured on the music program were the British bass and baritone singer Bryn Terfel, the former frontman of the band Pulp, English musician Jarvis Branson Cocker, Italian born conductor Riccardo Chailly, sitar virtuoso and composer Anoushka Shankar, two-time Mercury Prize winner PJ Harvey, the Italian Orchestra and Chorus Teatro Regio Torino, the orchestra of Milan’s world-renowned opera house La Scala and the music of the Incredible String Band that inspired listeners in the late 1960s with their psychedelic folk sound.
On the theatre program, one of the highlights was the Alan Ayckbourn plat The Divide presented in a joint production with the Old Vic theatre. Performed as a world premiere, this two-part comedy makes fun of post-Brexit British society by painting a satirical picture of a world where the populace is segregated by the sexes and freedom of speech is repressed.

Festival Outline
Founded in 1947, the Edinburgh International Festival is a performing arts festival held over a period of three weeks in August each year in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh. It is an international festival with programs covering the fields of opera, music, theatre, dance and visual art. From 2006 to 2014, the Festival Director and Chief Executive is Australian Jonathan Mills, who also has experience at the Melbourne Festival.
For its 65th holding in 2011, the festival adopted an Asian focus with roughly 140 events traditional and contemporary Asian performing arts performed at 11 venues around the city of Edinburgh. That year, the music festival featured performances by Indonesia’s Royal Yogyakrata Gamelan troupe, the sitar musician Ravi Shankar, sarod musician Amjad Ali Khan and other traditional Asian music, as well as a lineup of classical music performances by Asian musicians, including Chinese guitarist Xeufei Yang, Singapore’s Tang Quartet, the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra directed by Chung Myung-Whun and the rising young Chinese pianist Lee Yundi among others. Also, Canada’s Montreal Symphony Orchestra and Britain’s Arditti Quartet performed contemporary music by the Japanese composers Toru Takemitsu and Toshio Hosokawa. On the theater program, there was a world premiere of an international joint production with Japanese and American actors performing a play based on novelist Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-up Bird Chronicles directed by video artist Stephen Earnhart and using video technology from Japan and the U.S. From Japan, photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto was invited to give an exhibition of his work.
From 2015, the festival’s new director is Fergus Linehan, who has served as director of the Dublin Dance Festival and the Sydney Festival as director.
+Edinburgh International Festival