From a record number of musicians on the stage of the Usher Hall to an installation of whirling loudspeakers on tripods, and from a dystopic vision of future Edinburgh to a questioning look at the idyll of rural England, this week's Bank of Scotland Herald Angel awards range as widely over the Festivals' firmament as ever.

Appropriately, though, this week's Archangel for stellar service over many years stays closer to home and goes to the artistic director of the Traverse, Philip Howard, who steps down later this year. Howard has presided over an astonishingly fruitful era at the capital's long-established new-writing theatre, taking up the reins shortly after it moved into its current home. Now the Traverse brand can be seen all over the city, with a strong programme (including one of this week's Angel-winners) at the university Drill Hall, where the National Theatre of Scotland's Black Watch played last year, and performances in the Fruitmarket Gallery (Angel-winning Tim Crouch) and at the university's medical school in Teviot Place.

His tenure has nurtured writers including David Harrower, Linda McLean, Henry Adams and Gregory Burke and directors Vicky Featherstone, John Tiffany and Roxana Silbert, and his own productions have included many significant premieres from David Greig. The list of actors to whom he has given a platform would be very long indeed, and they, like the theatre audience, will be eager to see what he does next.

After being the sensation of the Usher Hall last weekend, the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela took the same programme to the BBC Proms, and stay-at-home London critics sat up. The young musicians from the most deprived backgrounds are the products of "The System", which uses music as a way out of poverty to such a successful degree that it has produced musicians of the calibre of the orchestra's conductor, Gustavo Dudamel, and pianist Leo Blanco, a Bank of Scotland Herald Angel-winner last year. It is now hoped to apply its lessons in Scotland, and if that initiative eventually produces a locally grown account of Shostakovich's Tenth Symphony as shattering as the one heard in the Usher Hall, we will be very fortunate indeed.

In the lovely acoustic of Grey-friars Kirk, audiences have heard a masterclass in the performance of the madrigals of Monteverdi, the composer at the heart of this year's International Festival. The performers were Concerto Italiano, of whom Conrad Wilson wrote in these pages: "Never has the Festival had an opening week so unified, not only in musical experience but in quality of performance and perfection of style." The Simon Bolivar Orchestra and Concerto Italiano receive Herald Angels.

The composer Georg Ligeti's work for 100 metronomes has something in common with the artist Ray Lee's installation, Siren, presented by Assembly Aurora Nova in the Out of the Blue Drill Hall in Leith. It consists of precisely constructed tripods that support rotating arms with two speakers broadcasting distinct tones. In a precise piece of theatre, Lee and Harry Dawes switch the individual electronic devices on until the space is filled with their oscillating sound and trails of light.

Kenny Young and the Eggplants, appearing at the Acoustic Music Centre, are, on the hand, very welcome perennials, their pun-laden songs referencing Cyndi Lauper and Rage Against the Machine. The show is a hilarious and highly accomplished hour of fun for all the family.

In Big in Japan (or Three Steves and A Bob), the Bob is Bob Karper, following up his show That's Me on the Left in the Parka, with another autobiographical tale illustrated by slides, video and his own keyboard-playing. It is the story of making friends and losing them, and how the latter can be as important as the former. Uninvited Guests is the company behind It Is Like It Ought to Be, which examines the Hardy-esque picture of rural England. It becomes apparent that this pastoral paradise is as much a construct as the most carefully devised performance-piece.

The final Angel of the week goes to Glasgow-based company Vanishing Point for a show, somewhat mysteriously entitled Subway, which gives a picture of Leith in the not-too-distant future, when the division between the haves and have-nots has produced a surveillance society and the possibility of revolution. It is superbly performed by Sandy Grierson and Rosalind Sydney with a septet of fine musicians from Kosovo.

The Little Devil award this week goes to John Moran and neighbour Saori, whose show, entitled just that, has gone ahead as billed this week after a fortnight when Moran, a musician who studied with Philip Glass, has had to make do without the acrobatic Saori. Working as a waitress to raise money to come to Edinburgh, she stepped into a pot of scalding chicken broth. She was eventually able to join the show.