Valery Gergiev Made Festival's New Honorary President
Valery Gergiev has been made the new Honorary President of the Edinburgh International Festival, it was announced tonight.
Gergiev is only the third person to be invited to become Honorary President of the Edinburgh International Festival Society, his predecessors being Yehudi Menuhin and Charles Mackerras, who died about a month before last year's festival began.
Festival Director Jonathan Mills, making the announcement tonight at the Festival Theatre, said:
‘Valery Gergiev has brought the Festival many outstanding performances with the Mariinsky Opera, London Symphony Orchestra and Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and is hugely popular with Festival audiences. In honour of his dedication and enthusiasm for the Festival and because his artistic values parallel those of the Edinburgh International Festival, I am very proud to announce Valery Gergiev as the Festival’s Honorary President, and we are delighted that he has accepted this position. Not only is he a superb talent, he is a truly international figure and a great humanitarian."
Valery Gergiev, Honorary President of the Edinburgh International Festival Society said: ‘I am delighted to be named as Honorary President of the Edinburgh International Festival Society.
‘I can easily celebrate my 20 years with the Edinburgh International Festival, it is a wonderful place to visit. We artists come here with a tremendous sense of responsibility and excitement. I very much hope that the Festival continues to thrive and flourish and I am very privileged to be part of its future.’
Gergiev’s association with the Festival began 20 years ago in 1991 when he brought the Kirov Opera, now known as the Mariinsky Opera, performing Mussorgsky’s opera Khovanshchina at the Edinburgh Playhouse and a series of concerts of Mussorgsky's work at the Usher Hall.
Thereafter he returned with the Kirov in 1995 with Glinka’s Ruslan and Lyudmila, Rimsky Korsakov’s Sadko and The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh, in 1997 performing three programmes of Prokofiev, in 2008 as the Mariinsky Opera performing Szymanowski’s Król Roger and Shchedrin’s The Enchanted Wanderer as well as Rachmaninov’s Aleko and Prokofiev’s Semyon Kotko.
He has also appeared at the Festival at the helm of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra in a series of concerts focusing on the works of Prokofiev.
Mariinsky Opera’s production of Strauss’s epic Die Frau ohne Schatten continues till Saturday. Jonathan Mills urged people to take advantage of the few remaining tickets for "this wonderfully sung, spectacularly staged, huge production."