Jonathan Mills

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Date and place of birth: 1963, Sydney, Australia

Living place: Edinburgh, UK

Theme: theatre

ECC Participation: Congress Council

photo: Drew Farrell

Jonathan Mills is a composer, author of such operas as “The Ghost Wife” and “Eternity Man,” and the director of the Edinburgh International Festival, one of the oldest and most important cultural events in Europe. The festival has been held annually since 1947. For many years, it was one large event that combined all fields of art, but has since been split into a series of offshoots, each devoted to a specific theme, with performance arts being the domain of the International Edinburgh Festival.

Mills’ nomination for festival director came as a surprise to many in the UK. Not only was he in no way involved with the festival — he didn’t even live in Europe. Despite the initial doubts of the media, Mills didn’t let festival audiences down. He breathed new life into the event, opening it up to new artistic trends, including Eastern European phenomena.

"The sole fact that someone eats Chinese food does not mean they are fascinated by Chinese culture."

The history of International Edinburgh Festival has its Polish moments. In 1972, thanks to the efforts of festival curator Richard Demarco, a collective exhibition directed by Tadeusz Kantor, titled “Atelier ’72,” was held, showcasing the work of Polish avant-garde artists. In 2008, “The Dybbuk” by Krzysztof Warlikowski and “4.48 Psychosis” by Grzegorz Jarzyna received a great reception from festival audiences, as did “King Roger,” directed by Mariusz Treliński.

Jonathan Mills has served as director of the festival since October 2006. He graduated from the University of Sydney with a degree in composition and studied architecture at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology focusing on acoustic design, before going on to become the Artistic Director of the Melbourne Festival and a professor at the University of Melbourne.

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TAGS: ECC Council, theatre