The 2015 Edinburgh International Festival comes to a close today after a hugely successful programme, featuring some of the world’s greatest artists, which has extended its reach to audiences both at the Festival and across the world.
Free, outdoor events such as the Festival’s Opening Event, The Harmonium Project, and the closing Virgin Money Fireworks Concert see the Festival spill out of the city’s established theatre and concert halls. Nearly 20,000 people celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Festival Chorus as its recorded performance of John Adams’s Harmonium, played by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, was brought to life in a spectacular digital animation created by 59 Productions.
Tonight an estimated audience of 250,000 is expected to enjoy the Virgin Money Fireworks Concert played by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra from Princes St Gardens, Princes Street, Inverleith Park and all over the city.
2015 has been acclaimed as an outstanding year for the International Festival, with top rated shows including The Encounter from Complicite and Simon McBurney; Antigone directed by Ivo van Hove with Juliette Binoche; Sylvie Guillem’s farewell tour, Life in Progress; 887 from Ex Machina and Robert Lepage; Budapest Festival Orchestra’s production of The Marriage of Figaro; Lanark by David Grieg, directed by Graham Eatough for the Citizens Theatre; and The Magic Flute, directed by Barrie Kosky at Komische Oper among many other staged events.
The Usher Hall played host to orchestras and artists from around the world with stand out performances by the San Francisco Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Budapest Festival Orchestra and the Philharmonia Orchestra; Yuja Wang; Colin Currie; and by the Edinburgh Festival Chorus in its 50th Anniversary. At the Queen’s Hall the series of morning chamber music concerts included wonderful performances by, among others, Matthias Goerne and Daniil Trifonov and the Zehetmair Quartet.
The new Hub Sessions series of concerts with artists such as King Creosote and Anna Calvi and concerts by FFS (Franz Ferdinand and Sparks) and Sufjan Stevens proved extremely popular and further extended the Festival’s reach and impact.
Audiences have packed theatres and concert halls across the city, with the Festival taking more than £3.8 million in ticket sales income, surpassing last year’s record receipts by approximately 19%. While in a wonderfully sunny Edinburgh over 6,000 people enjoyed 12 Scottish brass bands play on 12 sites along the Water of Leith bringing the Festival to new audiences.
This was Festival Director Fergus Linehan’s first Festival.
Festival Director, Fergus Linehan said; ‘At the end of three exhilarating weeks, all that remains is for us to thank the hundreds of artists and hundreds of thousands of audience members who continue to make the Edinburgh International Festival one of the wonders of the arts world.
‘This alliance of artists, audiences, government agencies, the media, donors and sponsors is unprecedented and all of us at the Festival office are deeply honoured to be given the opportunity to contribute to this remarkable organisation. We will continue to seek out artists of the highest calibre and present their work to the widest possible audience.’
The Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop said,
“From the opening notes and illuminations of the spectacular The Harmonium Project to the crescendo of the festival fireworks this is has been a great year for the Edinburgh International Festival. The festival has delivered music, theatre, dance and culture of the highest quality, including Lanark - a remarkable production that we have been proud to support through the Edinburgh Festivals Expo fund. I have been impressed how the festival has pushed the boundaries to connect to wider audiences with projects such as ‘Fanfare’ and ‘From Castlebrae with Love.”