Lang Lang and Angela Hewitt join Edinburgh international festival lineup

Classical programme to include a Beethoven sonata series by pianist Rudolf Buchbinder and choral works celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus

Comment: Big names and safe repertoire, but let’s wait for the bigger picture

Edinburgh international festival’s new director Fergus Linehan today announced the classical music programme, a month ahead of the launch of the full programme.

Key concerts include a rare UK visit by Austrian pianist Rudolf Buchbinder who, over nine concerts, will perform all 32 of Beethoven’s piano sonatas. Other keyboard highlights will be festival favourite Mitsuko Uchida playing Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations and Schubert’s Impromptus, Lang Lang making his festival debut with a concerto and a solo recital, and recitals by Angela Hewitt and harpsichordist Richard Egarr as part of the Queen’s Hall morning chamber music series. The Queen’s Hall series also includes an all-Brahms programme from violinist Leonidas Kavakos and pianist Yuja Wang, percussionist Colin Currie and, singing Purcell, countertenor Iestyn Davies and Ensemble Guadagni.

Choral works are at the heart of this year’s programme, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus, who will perform Berlioz’s epic Grande Messe des Morts, Mozart’s Requiem and Sibelius’s Kullervo. Concert performances of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress and Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore will be only part of the operatic offerings – the staged productions from this year’s programme will be announced in mid March.

Fergus Linehan
EIF artistic director Fergus Linehan Photograph: Stuart Armitt/EIF

Scottish artists and orchestras feature strongly, with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the National Youth Choir of Scotland and Scottish Opera, as well as Nicola Benedetti, Colin Currie (in his festival debut), Donald Runnicles and James MacMillan. International orchestras visiting the capital city are thinner on the ground than in previous years, but include Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra, and the San Francisco Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas.

“Launching the classical music concerts ahead of the full programme allows us to shine a light of the scale of work and quality of artistry these musicians will bring to Edinburgh,” said Fergus Linehan. “I want to continue to develop deep and rewarding relationships with musicians … while exploring artists new to the festival who have so much to give our audiences.

He added: “This is the first step in a line of programming that will evolve over the next five years.”

• The Edinburgh international festival runs 7-31 August. Tickets for all events will be on sale from 28 March.

  • This article was amended on 4 February 2015. It originally said the BBC Symphony Orchestra would feature at the festival. That should have been the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. This has been corrected.


Imogen Tilden

The GuardianTramp

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