Nicola Benedetti announced as new Edinburgh festival director

The musician will be the first female and Scottish director of the 75-year-old international festival.

Violinist Nicola Benedetti announced as new Edinburgh Festival director Supplied

Nicola Benedetti has been announced as the new director of the Edinburgh International Festival.

The 34-year-old violinist is both the first Scottish and female director to be appointed since the festival opened in 1947.

Ms Benedetti, born in Irvine, North Ayrshire, will take up the role in October, taking over from Fergus Linehan, who directed the festival for eight years.

The Edinburgh International Festival board of trustees said that she “reflects the spirit of the festival”.

Ms Benedetti, who is of Italian heritage, has toured internationally with some of the world’s greatest orchestras and conductors, and began a commitment to music education in 2019, establishing the Benedetti Foundation.

She said: “I am deeply honoured to contribute to the long and rich history of the Edinburgh International Festival and the cultural landscape of Scotland.

“This festival was founded on principles of reconciliation and the ideals of art transcending political and cultural fracture.

“Following in the footsteps of the wonderful achievements of Fergus Linehan and his predecessors, I will uphold these values and greatly look forward to serving this festival, its mission of cultural exchanges, and the people of Scotland.”

Deputy first minister John Swinney called it a “fabulous appointment”, while First Minister Nicola Sturgeon ‘welcomed’ the news.

She said: “I welcome Nicola Benedetti’s appointment as director – especially as she becomes the first woman to ever hold the role.

“Her experience in promoting Scotland’s cultural scene to audiences around the world will be invaluable and I wish her every success.”

Keith Skeoch, chair of the Board of Trustees, Edinburgh International Festival, said: “It is such a pleasure to welcome Nicola Benedetti as both the first woman and the first Scottish director of the Edinburgh International Festival.

“In many ways she reflects the spirit of this festival; internationally recognised and respected but Scottish to her core, she’s dedicated to advocating world-class music making and innovating new ways to bring it to audiences.

“As an artist, her string of collaborators reads like a who’s who of the world of classical music and as an educator she has reached tens of thousands worldwide. I have no doubt that she will bring a wealth of new ideas to the organisation and build on Fergus’ exceptional work from the last eight years.”

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