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USA centre stage in Edinburgh International Festival’s global celebration of culture.

Festival 2013 features over 2,200 artists from more than 35 nations in three weeks of the finest of the world’s theatre, dance, music and opera against the stunning backdrop of the world’s Festival city, Edinburgh.
From Patti Smith to MIT Media Lab, the wide presence of American artists at Edinburgh International Festival 2013 gives audiences a unique opportunity to experience some of the best contemporary arts brought by Philip Glass, Meredith Monk and Benjamin Millepied, as well as revisit groundbreaking works of US icons such as Frank Zappa and Allen Ginsberg.
L.A. Dance Project, the first Los Angeles based contemporary dance ensemble founded by Benjamin Millepied, Black Swan’s choreographer and recently appointed Director of the Paris Opéra Ballet, presents a triple bill of masterworks by William Forsythe and Merce Cunningham. The ensemble’s close collaborator, Nico Muhly, composed music for Moving Parts, a new work from the group’s founding choreographer. Muhly has been recognised for his work with musicians ranging from Björk and Grizzly Bear to Usher, as well as for his opera Two Boys and his award-winning original score for The Reader.
New York’s legendary The Wooster Group will visit the Festival with an original reinvention of Shakespearian Hamlet with Scott Shepherd portraying tortured Danish prince. Director and co-founder of the troupe, Elizabeth LeCompte, designed the play to recreate and interact with the footage of John Gielgud’s acclaimed Broadway production of Hamlet from 1964 starring Richard Burton.
Recognised as one of the world’s most imaginative and influential composers known for his music technology inventions, from a hypercello for Yo-Yo Ma to innovations behind Guitar Hero, Boston-based Tod Machover has been commissioned to create a short new work Festival City. This sonic impression of Edinburgh is being created in collaboration with people from around the world who inspire the piece by sending sound clips representing their memories of the Festival. The members of public are also given a thrilling opportunity to influence the final shape of Festival City by using the web-based music apps designed at MIT Media LAB especially for the project; they are available at Machover’s work receives its world premiere performed by Royal Scottish National Orchestra on 27 August.
In his first opera production, Gary Hill, American director and multimedia artist, brings to life Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio. In his impressive interpretation, a dramatic story of love and fighting against a regime is taken into outer-space. Stunning video projections and futuristic costumes provide a rich backdrop for excellent performances including that of Swedish-American soprano Erika Sunnegårdh acclaimed for her moving Leonore.
Angel Blue, former Miss Hollywood and Operalia finalist endorsed by Placido Domingo, is at the centre of another bold reimagining of opera based on Alban Berg’s unfinished Lulu. In her concept of the opera, Olga Neuwirth, whose previous projects include an operatic interpretation of David Lunch’s Lost Highway, takes the American Lulu audience to the smoky jazz clubs of the Deep South in the 50s to tell the startling story of sex, violence and murder. Adding to the jazz infusion is Jacqui Dankworth, one of the Britain’s most sought after jazz singers and member of the Dankworth musical dynasty.
The spirit of American 70s punk and its avant-garde arts scene will be explored in a tribute to US cult maverick Frank Zappa in a concert by acclaimed German Ensemble musikFabrik led by superstar percussionist Dirk Rothbrust. Another legend of American alternative scene, the Beat Generation’s creator and rebellious poet Allen Ginsberg, will be celebrated in The Poet Speaks bringing the iconic Patti Smith together with a pillar of contemporary music minimalism, Philip Glass, for an intimate evening of poetry, music and song. The electric chamber ensemble Bang on a Can All-Stars bringing together some of the world’s most-renowned musical thinkers presents the Field Recordings project showcasing an adventurous blend of contemporary classical, electronic, folk, indie pop and live art.
Music blending with different art forms also includes Philip Glass Ensemble’s reimagining of Jean Cocteau’s 1946 film La Belle et la Bête for Festival audiences by replacing the original soundtrack with Glass’s own minimalistic music; as well as Meredith Monk and her Vocal Ensemble with a meditative music-theatre performance exploring interconnections and interdependencies between human, natural and spiritual elements.
Patti Smith, Philip Glass and Meredith Monk take part in the Festival’s talks programme where audiences will have an opportunity to engage in conversations with artists.
Pioneering visual artist Nam June Paik is the focus of 50th anniversary celebration of his first solo exhibition in Wuppertal in 1963. Taking over the Talbot Rice Gallery, Transmitted Live: Nam June Paik Resounds marks the first time the Korean American artist’s subversive media work has been exhibited in Scotland.

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