Star burst: Nicola Benedetti to be director of the Edinburgh Festival

Star burst: Nicola Benedetti to be director of the Edinburgh Festival


norman lebrecht

March 01, 2022

The Edinburgh International Festival has just appointed the violinist Nicola Benedetti as its next director, the first time a working musician has headed the prestigious event.

She is also the first Scottish and the first female Festival Director since the Festival began in 1947.

The news will be hugely welcomed in Scotland, where Benedetti is something of a national heroine. It should also help to bring a new generation of performers to a festival that has long been top-heavy with seniorities.

The appointment will, however, impinge markedly on her international career. She is only 34, still in full flight.

We offer Nikki our wholehearted congratulations.

UPDATE She says: ‘I am deeply honoured to contribute to the long and rich history of the Edinburgh International Festival and the cultural landscape of Scotland. This festival was founded on principles of reconciliation and the ideals of art transcending political and cultural fracture. Following in the footsteps of the wonderful achievements of Fergus Linehan and his predecessors, I will uphold these values and greatly look forward to serving this festival, its mission of cultural exchanges, and the people of Scotland.’


  • pianoronald says:

    Well deserved, Nicola!

  • AKP says:

    I think this is a wonderful choice in so many ways.

  • Lalita Carlton-Jones says:

    As a supporter of the EIF I am delighted at this appointment, well done.

  • Hugh Kerr says:

    Congratulations from Edinburgh Music Review on a great appointment. I have campaigned for years for a Scottish director of the festival and we now have a very good one. I’m sure she will get the support required to do the job and still perform.

  • music lover says:

    Yay!!!!!!!Fantastic choice

  • music lover says:

    Yay!!!!Fantastic choice!!!!!

  • Althea T-H says:

    But full flying is the burning issue du jour, is it not?

    It’s good to know that she’ll have something worthwhile to do close to home, without a carbon footprint, and which is hopefully well-paid.

  • Freddy says:

    Had a short chat with Nicola at a C D signing session after an EIF concert, very impressed.
    Congratulations upon the appointment.

  • Kira says:

    This appointment seems like an insult to the many women who have actual experience as festival directors and programmers. Not surprising from a board full of bankers and marketeers who don’t know what the role of an arts administrator is. What is Nicola’s experience in theatre programming? Visual arts? Contemporary dance? The EIF isn’t a platform to promote Scottish artists like some seem to think, it has always been an international stage to bring the best from around the world to Edinburgh.