To coincide with American Independence Day and its 75th anniversary year, Edinburgh International Festival has released more than 3,000 tickets to a special free concert featuring one of the USA’s leading orchestras, The Philadelphia Orchestra.

Entitled ‘Thank You, Edinburgh’, the concert gives thanks to the people of Edinburgh for their support over the decades.

The free tickets for the concert taking place at the Playhouse at 3pm on Saturday, 27 August are now available to book at eif.co.uk

Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra, has created a special family-friendly programme that includes, among others, beloved arias from Puccini’s La bohème and Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, the finale of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, hoe-down from Aaron Copland’s musical Rodeo celebrating the American West and Carlos Simon’s Fate Now Conquers, inspired by an entry from Beethoven’s journal.

The Philadelphia Orchestra Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Conductor – This and featured image © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2019

The concert will also be relayed live to the Ross Bandstand in Princes Street Gardens. The first 100 people to attend the live unticketed relay in the Gardens will receive a free snack pack, supplied by the International Festival’s official partners The Pantry and Bon Accord.

In the same spirit of gratitude to all those whose hard work, encouragement and friendship supported the Festival and its community over the past 75 years, Edinburgh International Festival is on the lookout for four Festival Heroes – people who’ve opened their hearts and their homes to strangers and played a part in welcoming the world to Edinburgh since 1947.

Whether they helped an actor struggling to find accommodation, donated their coal ration to light the castle many years ago, opened their home to a Ukrainian refugee or delivered free meals to self-isolating people during the pandemic, they could be a Festival Hero!

The selected Festival Heroes will receive premium tickets for the concert, a voucher to enjoy a meal at Dine Edinburgh and a Lind & Lime distillery tour. Additionally, their stories will be shared on the Edinburgh International Festival website and in the Edinburgh Evening News in the weeks prior to the concert. To nominate someone as a Festival Hero, visit eif.co.uk/heroes.

In addition to performing at ‘Thank You, Edinburgh’, The Philadelphia Orchestra takes up residence at the Edinburgh International Festival across four concerts, demonstrating its renowned versatility and the stunning breadth of music-making. The Orchestra presents Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony on Thurs 25 Aug and shares the genius of Florence Price and her First Symphony – the first piece by a Black female composer to be performed by a major US orchestra in 1932 – on Fri 26 Aug, both concerts are performed at the Usher Hall.

The Orchestra also showcases some of its exceptional players in The Queen’s Hall in Mozart Chamber Works, an intimate concert presenting Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet and Piano Concerto No.12.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Music Director and Conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra, said: “I am looking forward to leading The Philadelphia Orchestra in Edinburgh for the first time and connecting with the warm and enthusiastic audiences who share such a deep love of classical music. Our performances throughout the International Festival, including this exciting free concert, are an authentic representation of who we are. We can’t wait to share in the joy of music together through repertoire that reflects our diverse world.”

Tickets for the concert taking place at the Playhouse at 3pm on Saturday, 27 August are now available to book at eif.co.uk.