Edinburgh International Festival 2018 Classical Music Preview

There's an exciting programme of classical music for us in August. Here are my 2018 Edinburgh International Festival highlights.

The Festival appropriately bursts into life with the Opening Concert. Haydn’s Creation will be played by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra under Edward Gardner and the National Youth Choir of Scotland under Christopher Bell. The oratorio describes each act of creation – water and the land to plants, birds, animals and finally human life.

Earlier, on the first morning, in The Queen's Hall Nicola Benedetti is accompanied by the world-renowned Academy of Ancient Music and Richard Egarr for a morning of witty and theatrical Baroque works from Vivaldi and Telemann.

A star-studded cast with the Hallé and Sir Mark Elder provide the third instalment of Wagner’s monumental Ring Cycle in this concert performance. With a start at 4.30pm it last five and a half hours.

Martyn Brabbins conducts the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Edinburgh Festival Chorus for Vaughan Williams’s mighty A Sea Symphony and celebrate the Scottish premiere of Scottish composer Thea Musgrave's Turbulent Landscapes.

In the first of two concerts, Sir Simon Rattle and the LSO are joined by legendary pianist Krystian Zimerman for Bernstein’s Second Symphony.

Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra are joined by legendary pianist Krystian Zimerman for Bernstein’s Second Symphony in the first of their two concerts. It's Mahler's Ninth for the second.

Handel’s powerful oratorio Samson is brought to life by Scotland’s finest period-instrument ensemble, the Dunedin Consort under John Butt.

National Youth Orchestra of Canada under Jonathan Darlington conducts Copland’s iconic Appalachian Spring and Vaughan Williams’ Third Symphony, along with a new work from Canadian composer John Estacio.

Vasily Petrenko and the Oslo Philharmonic return to the International Festival with a vibrant programme of Richard Strauss and Prokofiev's Sixth Symphony. The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra performs heady works from Stravinsky, Ravel and Debussy, conducted by Ludovic Morlot. Christian Blackshaw, renowned British pianist, is joined by four principal players from the Berliner Philharmoniker to perform Schubert and Mozart.

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra under Robin Ticciati performs the cycle of Brahms’ symphonies over two nights. Colburn Orchestra a remarkable American youth ensemble under former Royal Scottish National Orchestra Music Director 
Stéphane Denève perform music by Salonen and Rachmaninov. They are joined by violinist Simone Porter for Barber’s Violin Concerto. Pavel Haas Quartet, one of the world’s most exciting string quartets, perform two landmark works in the repertoire – Schubert’s ‘Rosamunde’ and Ravel’s String Quartet.

At The Queen's Hall the much loved Scottish Hebrides Ensemble celebrate Bernstein’s centenary year with two of his compositions, punctuated by music by Copland in their all-American recital.

Marin Alsop returns to Edinburgh with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for a programme of Stravinsky, Schumann and Gershwin’s Piano Concerto. The final Usher Hall concert has Mahler’s Eighth conducted by Daniel Harding with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. They are joined by the National Youth Choir of Scotland Girls Choir and Edinburgh Festival Chorus carefully prepared by Christopher Bell to perform Mahler’s immense masterpiece.

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