ALAN Cumming, Herbie Hancock, Scottish Ballet, Akram Khan, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Arab Strap and the Philadelphia Orchestra are among the artists taking part in this year’s Edinburgh International Festival as it celebrates its 75th anniversary.

More than 2300 artists will appear as part of 87 events and 160 performances across 14 venues as the world-renowned arts festival looks to return to normal after the pandemic.

As well as its 75th birthday celebrations, the 2022 Edinburgh International Festival will also be the last under the directorship of Fergus Linehan.

Linehan, who took over from Sir Jonathan Mills in 2014, will be succeeded in October by Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti, a surprise appointment that was announced at the beginning of March.

Benedetti herself will also take part in this year’s Festival, playing alongside the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Other notable attendees from the world of classical music include Anne Sofie von Otter, Sir Simon Rattle and Zubin Mehta.

HeraldScotland: Anne Sofie von OtterAnne Sofie von Otter

“2022 is a special year for the Festival,” Linehan said as he announced this year’s programme. “We hope that it will mark a turning point in the pandemic that has changed all our lives over the past two years.”

“It is our 75th anniversary and an opportunity to pay tribute to our first Artistic Director, Rudolph Bing, a refugee of war in Europe. And it is my final year as Festival Director as we hand the reigns over to a new generation.”

After the Festival was cancelled because of coronavirus restrictions in 2020, it returned last year with more outdoor shows and the use of social distancing. This year, however, will see the Festival scale up to pre-pandemic levels again for what it describes as a “global celebration of the best in music, opera, dance and theatre.”

Alan Cumming’s solo dance theatre debut Burn, which sees him collaborating with choreographer Steven Hoggett in a show that will feature the music of Anna Meredith, and Liz Lochhead’s contemporary retelling of Medea, starring Adura Onashile and directed by Michael Boyd, both under the aegis of National Theatre of Scotland, have already been announced.

But the Festival will also see four concerts by the Philadelphia Orchestra, while the Internationaal Theater Amsterdam presents the UK premiere of A Little Life, based on the novel by Hanya Yanagihara, and an adaptation of Thomas Mann’s novel The Magic Mountain.

HeraldScotland: Scottish Ballet's CoppeliaScottish Ballet's Coppelia

Among other highlights this year, Scottish Ballet, working with choreographers Jess and Morgs, will present the world premiere of Coppelia, which, the company says, has been “reinvented” for the digital age, “with a blend of location and real-time filming.”

Murrayfield Ice Rink, meanwhile, will be home to an immersive event entitled Dreamachine, created by Collective Act, which brings together Turner Prize-winning artists Assemble and Grammy and Mercury nominated musician and composer Jon Hopkins, as well as a team of leading scientists and philosophers and technologists.

The internationally acclaimed choreographer Akram Khan will bring a new version of Rudyard Kipling’s family classic The Jungle Book to this year’s Edinburgh International Festival. Jungle Book Reimagined sees Khan reframe the story of Mowgli through the eyes of a climate refugee, in a show that also features an original score by Jocelyn Pook.

The subject of migration and refugees will form one of the major themes of this year’s Festival programme. At its heart is Refuge, a season of contemporary theatre, dance, visual art, film and conversation created in collaboration with the Scottish Refugee Council to explore themes of migration and identity. It will also serve as a tip of the hat to the festival’s first director Rudolph Bing, himself a refugee.

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Jazz legend Herbie Hancock will also be making an appearance as part of the festival’s contemporary music strand, which will also see performances by the likes of Princess Nokia, Kae Tempest, Squarepusher, Ibeyi and The Cinematic Orchestra. Scottish duo Arab Strap will also make their International Festival debut.

Welcoming this year’s anniversary programme, Ian Munro, Chief Executive of Creative Scotland, said: “75 years on from the Festival’s founding in the shadow of the Second World War, we find ourselves again turning to culture to lift spirits and provide inspiration in uncertain and challenging times.”

As he prepares to say goodbye to Edinburgh, Festival director Fergus Linehan added: “Edinburgh is more than a collection of performances, it is the great annual meeting point for artists and all those who love music, theatre, dance, and literature. We hope you will join us once again for this unmissable celebration.”

Public tickets for this year’s Festival go on sale on April 8. Visit eif.co.uk for details