Last night, Wednesday 20 August, at the Usher Hall, Festival Director Jonathan Mills announced Sir Charles Mackerras as the new Honorary President of Edinburgh International Festival Society. To read Jonathan's full speech, click here.
Sir Charles was thanked for the wonderful performances he has brought Festival audiences over 56 years . His first appearance at the EIF dating back to 1952 at the Empire Theatre (now the Edinburgh Festival Theatre) with Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet, conducting his own arrangement of Arthur Sullivan's Pineapple Poll. He returned in 1958 as Music Director for a season of 12 ballet premieres. In more recent years he is renowned for his performances at the Usher Hall with orchestras including the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Hanover Band, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. Soloists who have shared the Festival platform with Mackerras include Christian Zacharias, Felicity Lott, Sarah Walker, Philip Langridge, John Williams, Bryn Terfel, Ian Bostridge, Lisa Milne and Simon Keenlyside. In 2006 Mackerras conducted the seminal series of Beethoven's Nine Symphonies.
Sir Charles Mackerras, Honorary President of the Edinburgh International Festival Society said: "I am absolutely delighted to be named as Honorary President of the Edinburgh International Festival Society. As a genuine Scotsman, it is a great honour to be given this position and to follow on in such distinguished footsteps. Since my debut at the Festival in 1952 it has always played a very important part of my musical life and to have a continuing relationship with the Festival is a great honour indeed."