Russian Valery Gerviev is festival's honorary president

image captionGerviev has enjoyed a 20-year association with the festival

Russian conductor and opera company director Valery Gergiev is the new honorary president of the Edinburgh International Festival.

Gergiev brought the Kirov Opera to the festival in 1991, 1995 and 1997.

Renamed as the Mariinsky Opera, Gergiev's company returned in 2008 and he has also conducted at the festival.

"I can easily celebrate my 20 years with the Edinburgh International Festival, it is a wonderful place to visit," Gergiev said.

"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."

Rachmaninov's Aleko and Prokofiev's Semyon Kotko are amongst the operas the 58-year-old's touring companies have performed in the Scottish capital.

He has also helmed the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra in a series of concerts focusing on the works of Prokofiev.

Gergiev becomes the third person to be invited to become honorary president, following violinist Yehudi Menuhin and conductor Charles Mackerras.

Festival director Jonathan Mills 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.

"Not only is he a superb talent, he is a truly international figure and a great humanitarian.

"I am certain that the Mariinsky Opera's stunning production of Strauss's epic Die Frau ohne Schatten will move and entertain audiences."

He added: "The festival very much looks forward to continuing and developing our relationship with Valery Gergiev into the future."

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