Edinburgh International Festival celebrates its 75th anniversary, and 75 years of bringing world cultures together, with a programme defined by international partnerships and bold collaborations that span continents, generations and genres. Returning to Edinburgh’s theatres and concert halls at a scale not seen since 2019, 14 venues host 87 events and over 160 performances from over 2,300 artists – once again turning Edinburgh into a global celebration of world-class music, opera, dance and theatre. This year is also Fergus Linehan’s last as Festival Director before Nicola Benedetti takes up the role in October 2022.
The 2022 International Festival also pilots a number of artistic residencies as part of ongoing work to make the event more sustainable by reducing the amount of travel required.
Highlights of the programme include:
MACRO – a spectacular free opening event at BT Murrayfield featuring Australian contemporary circus powerhouse Gravity & Other Myths, First Nations dance company Djuki Mala, the National Youth Choir of Scotland and Scottish musicians including Aidan O’Rourke, Brìghde Chaimbeul and Kathleen MacInnes. Further details about this event will be announced on 27 June.
The Philadelphia Orchestra, led by conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin, in residence at the International Festival across four concerts: Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Angel Blue, Karen Cargill and the Edinburgh Festival Chorus, Florence Price’s First Symphony, chamber works by Mozart and special free afternoon concert to celebrate the Festival’s 75th anniversary.
Internationaal Theater Amsterdam in residence at the Edinburgh International Festival with two epic shows from the company’s repertoire – the UK premiere of A Little Life based on the novel by Hanya Yanagihara and an adaptation of Thomas Mann’s novel The Magic Mountain. These sit alongside a new adaptation of Édouard Louis’s The End of Eddy by Toneelschuur Producties.
The Philharmonia Orchestra’s residency comprising an orchestral concert featuring South Korean pianist Seong-Jin Cho, a concert performance of Fidelio conducted by Sir Donald Runnicles, a chamber recital and three performances of Dvořák’s Rusalka from Garsington Opera.
The most substantial programme of Australian artists in the International Festival’s 75-year history, as part of the UK/Australia Season. Performances include the Australian World Orchestra conducted by Zubin Mehta; Gravity & Other Myths in MACRO and The Pulse; the European premiere of You Know We Belong Together by Julia Hales; a tale of Sri Lanka post-independence and Australia as an immigrant nation in S. Shakthidharan’s Counting and Cracking; didgeridoo player William Barton with the Chineke! Chamber Ensemble; and violist Brett Dean performs alongside the Hebrides Ensemble.
A new production of Dvořák’s best-loved opera, the dark fairy tale Rusalka, featuring Welsh soprano Natalya Romaniw in the title role. It is also conducted by Douglas Boyd, Artistic Director of Garsington Opera and performed with one of the 2022 International Festival resident orchestras, the Philharmonia Orchestra.
The world premiere of Scottish Ballet’s Coppélia, reinvented for the digital age by UK choreographers Jess and Morgs with a blend of location and real-time filming, projection and live performance. The original Delibes score is reimagined as part of a new composition by Mikael Karlsson and Michael P. Atkinson, performed live by the Scottish Ballet Orchestra.
A contemporary music programme featuring jazz legend Herbie Hancock in his International Festival debut; boundary-pushing electronic artist Squarepusher; New York-born Afro-Puerto Rican rapper Princess Nokia; spoken word artist Kae Tempest; Detroit techno icon Jeff Mills; Scottish duo Arab Strap; Romanian folk supergroup Taraf De Caliu; and compelling American singer songwriter Ezra Furman.
A contemporary dance programme featuring Akram Khan’s new Jungle Book Reimagined which reinvents the journey of Mowgli through the eyes of a climate refugee; the UK premiere of Kyle Abraham’s An Untitled Love set to the music of R&B legend D’Angelo; and Aakash Odedra Company’s Samsara, which draws from Western, Indian and Chinese dance traditions.
Muster Station: Leith – a new immersive, promenade performance created by multi-award-winning theatre company Grid Iron to mark the culmination of the International Festival’s four-year residency at Leith Academy.
Leading European orchestras return to Edinburgh’s Usher Hall including: the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, Les Siècles, Hespèrion XXI, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra with the world premiere of Daniel Kidane’s Precipice Dances.
Intimate morning recitals at The Queen’s Hall featuring piano maestros Bruce Liu, Ronald Brautigam, Malcolm Martineau and Steven Osborne; vocal recitals from singers including Anne Sofie von Otter, Golda Schultz and Florian Boesch; and chamber music from Chineke! Chamber Ensemble, Takács Quartet and more.
The National Theatre of Scotland’s return to the International Festival with Alan Cumming in his solo dance theatre debut Burn, inspired by the life of Robert Burns, and Liz Lochhead’s powerful adaptation of Medea featuring Adura Onashile in the title role and directed by Michael Boyd.
Refuge, a season of contemporary theatre, dance, visual art, film and conversation, created in collaboration with the Scottish Refugee Council to explore themes of refugeehood, migration, identity and inclusion.
Dreamachine, part of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK, is a powerful immersive experience using light and sound to explore the potential of the human mind, which takes place at Murrayfield Ice Rink, Edinburgh. Created by Collective Act, it brings together Turner Prize-winning artists Assemble, Grammy and Mercury nominated composer Jon Hopkins, and a team of leading technologists, scientists and philosophers.
As part of the International Festival’s ongoing commitment to accessibility, the 2022 programme includes audio described, captioned and British Sign Language interpreted performances, touch tours, relaxed performances and free tickets to classical music concerts for over 250 young people.
Supported by global investment brand abrdn, the International Festival’s digital programme, At Home, will feature behind-the-scenes interviews, exclusive music sessions and performances filmed in iconic locations around Edinburgh. Full details will be announced in the summer.
General booking for the 2022 International Festival opens on Friday 8 April. For more information CLICK HERE.
Fergus Linehan, Festival Director, Edinburgh International Festival said: ‘2022 is a special year for the Festival. We hope that it will mark a turning point in the pandemic that has changed all our lives over the past two years. It is our 75th Anniversary and an opportunity to pay tribute to our first Artistic Director, Rudolph Bing, a refugee of war in Europe. And it is my final year as Festival Director as we hand the reigns over to a new generation. Edinburgh is more than a collection of performances, it is the great annual meeting point for artists and all those who love music, theatre, dance, and literature. We hope you will join us as once again for this unmissable celebration.’
Culture Minister Neil Gray said: ‘We’re delighted to support the Edinburgh International Festival as it celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. Set up after the Second World War to unite people from different cultures through the arts, the festival’s raison d’etre is just as relevant today as it was in 1947.
‘As Minister for Refugees from Ukraine I’m pleased to see the themes of refugeehood, migration and inclusion in this year’s programme. In particular, I’m looking forward to Grid Iron theatre’s exploration of human displacement and migration in their immersive production of Muster Station: Leith which received funding through our Festivals Expo Fund.
‘This will also be director Fergus Linehan’s final festival, and I’d like to pay tribute to his wide-ranging and inspiring programmes over the last eight years.’
Councillor Donald Wilson, Edinburgh’s Culture and Communities Convener, said: ‘The city’s International Festival returns in full force with an exciting celebration of artists and companies from Scotland and all over the world.
‘This is a very special year for the festival, not only does it see a full programme of delights and thrilling encounters, it will also be marking its 75th year and Fergus Linehan’s final contribution as Festival Director. Over the last seven years, Mr Linehan has worked through an exceptional era of both social liberty and challenge to stage a festival programme both intimate and international reaching partners all over the globe bringing exceptional talent to Edinburgh, alongside showcasing Scottish companies and artists. I am certain 2022 will see his crowning accomplishment in delivering a renewed festival to Edinburgh and the world.’
Ian Munro, Chief Executive of Creative Scotland, said: ‘Congratulations to Fergus and the Edinburgh International Festival team for an outstanding programme in his final festival. Spanning continents, generations and genres, the 75th anniversary programme represents an important moment, bringing people together to celebrate creativity through an inspirational line-up of world-class music, opera, dance and theatre. 75 years on from the Festival’s founding in the shadow of the Second World War, we find ourselves again turning to culture to lift spirits and provide inspiration in uncertain and challenging times. We also welcome Nicola Benedetti as incoming Festival Director and look forward to working with her in the coming years on the continued success of the Festival.’