Edinburgh International Festival announces star-studded classical music line-up

2 June 2021, 17:54 | Updated: 3 June 2021, 10:24

Edinburgh International Festival announces star-studded classical music line-up
Edinburgh International Festival announces star-studded classical music line-up. Picture: Sally Jubb / Robin Clewley / Mark McNulty

By Rosie Pentreath

Concerts from Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Vasily Petrenko, Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Elim Chan, and many others will be premiered on Classic FM’s Facebook Page.

Join us as we partner with Edinburgh International Festival to present online highlights from their 2021 classical music offering, announced today (2 June).

Throughout August, Classic FM will stream extended excerpts from five concerts featured in the 2021 festival programme – ranging from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) and Vasily Petrenko, to Brahms chamber music.

There are star-studded concerto soloists too: pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason will join the RPO for Clara Schumann’s Piano Concerto and cellist Sol Gabetta will be teaming up with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and conductor Elim Chan for Saint-Saëns’ Cello Concerto No. 1.

The streamed programme shared by Classic FM will also include a vocal recital featuring soprano Fatima Said and pianist Malcolm Martineau, and another event featuring Martineau and special guests. See below for more details.

Read more: Edinburgh International Festival to go ahead completely outdoors, for first time ever

Other classical highlights in the festival include violinist Nicola Benedetti appearing, as the festival’s artist in residence, with the Benedetti Baroque Orchestra, as well as appearances from leading UK orchestras, including the RPO, London Symphony Orchestra and Chineke! Orchestra.

Richard Strauss’ comedy opera Ariadne auf Naxos and Verdi’s Falstaff are also on the bill, alongside a night of songs from Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, starring Danielle de Niese, Kim Criswell, Anna-Jane Casey, Damian Humbley and Richard Morrison.

“While so much has been written and said about the challenges of the past 15 months, it is now time to look to the future and to the brilliant musicians, actors, dancers and poets who are getting ready to perform Edinburgh this August,” festival director Fergus Linehan says.

“None of us can be certain of what the coming months will bring but we are committed to working together on returning to the joy of live performance.”

Culture minister Jenny Gilruth says: “The programme has been planned with the utmost care and attention and an excellent and diverse digital programme extends the spirit of the International Festival to those who are unable to join us in Edinburgh this year.”

Edinburgh International Festival announced this year that all events will take place outdoors, for the first time in the festival’s history. The festival returns as live music has been opening up cautiously around Britain, and aims to feel like a celebratory reunion that relaunches Scotland’s international reputation for cultural events.

The festival’s director, Fergus Linehan, has said: “For the first time since lockdown, orchestras, ballet companies, traditional musicians, theatre ensembles and designers have come together to perform in and light up the venues they love.

“This has been achieved with great care to ensure the safety of all involved. It represents a cautious but essential step towards the re-emergence of the performing arts in our country.”

Read more: The return of live classical music: best concerts, festivals and venues returning this summer

Audience safety has been central to the festival’s planning, with measures taken that include outdoor venues, social distancing, shorter performances with no intervals, audience members seated in bubbles and online access to many of the events, for free, in full.

Venues used for the 2021 International Festival include bespoke outdoor pavilions at Edinburgh Academy Junior School, Parabola’s Edinburgh Park development and the University of Edinburgh’s Old College Quad.

Full list of Edinburgh International Festival 2021 classical music events being streamed by Classic FM

Thursday 12 August
Brahms chamber music
Zehetmair Quartet
Will stream via facebook.com/ClassicFM (times TBC)

Saturday 14 August
Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 | Clara Schumann: Piano Concerto
Isata Kanneh-Mason (Piano), Royal Philharmonic Orchestra & Vasily Petrenko
Will stream via facebook.com/ClassicFM (times TBC)

Monday 16 August
Haydn, Beethoven & Schubert
Malcolm Martineau (piano) and special guests
Will stream via facebook.com/ClassicFM (times TBC)

Saturday 21 August
Saint-Saëns: Cello Concerto
Royal Scottish National Orchestra & Elim Chan
Will stream via facebook.com/ClassicFM (times TBC)

Sunday 29 August
Songs by Mozart, Ravel, de Falla and Lorca
Fatma Said (soprano) & Malcolm Martineau (piano)
Will stream via facebook.com/ClassicFM (times TBC)

Click here for Edinburgh International Festival’s full line up.