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Edinburgh International Festival

The Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) - now programmed by Jonathan Mills - is the original centerpiece of Edinburgh's hotbed of artistic excellence every August. Around it cluster the Fringe, Military Tattoo, Jazz and Blues, Book and Edge festivals.

First held in 1947, to unite war-torn Europe by bringing together all that was best in the performing arts to the "Athens of the North", the EIF has helped shape the artistic life of the country over six decades. There have only been nine artistic directors (Rudolf Bing, Ian Hunter, Robert Ponsonby, the 7th Earl of Harewood, Peter Diamond, John Drummond, Frank Dunlop, Brian McMaster and, since 2007, Jonathan Mills) who have programmed the world's top classical, dance and drama performers and developed the artistic infrastructure of the Scottish capital.

Giulini, Karajan, Menuhin and Shostakovich filled the Usher Hall in the festival's early days, as their counterparts like Gergiev and Rattle do, in the newly refurbished hall in the 21st century. Mark Morris and late, lamented Pina Bausch were notable in the dance programme, while Peter Stein directed a number of productions (plays and opera) under McMaster's directorship.

Mills' first festivals have been equally eclectic, especially bringing period instrument music to the fore and investigating broad themes - "artists without borders" in 2008, the Scottish Enlightenment in 2009, the Pacific in 2010 and 2011's impact of the east on the west. In 2012 Arthur's Seat - the impressive volcanic plug above Edinburgh - is trasnformed in collaboration with the Cultural Olympiad in the three-week Speed of Light project.

From airy Queen's Hall's late-morning recitals, Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) days are packed with orchestral concerts in the (newly refurbished) Usher Hall and dance, opera and drama in the Edinburgh Festival, King's, Playhouse and Royal Lyceum Theatres. The festival ends with the Bank of Scotland Fireworks Concert in Princes' Street Gardens also, spectacularly, visible from across the city. In addition, the Festival's home is The Hub - underneath the Castle at the top of the High Street - which also boasts a 400-seat venue in use constantly during each festival.

Edinburgh International Festival Information


When: Aug - Sep 2013 (annual)

Where: Edinburgh

Cost:

Opening Hours: Festival Launch 12 Mar 2012

Address: Edinburgh

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