NICOLA Benedetti is set to make history by becoming the first Scot and first female director of the Edinburgh International Festival.

The Irvine born violinist takes over from Fergus Linehan who directed the festival for eight years.

The trust that appointed Benedetti said the classical musician embodied the spirit of the festival: "internationally recognised and respected but Scottish to her core".

The Italian-Scottish solo violinist will continue to perform around the world and lead the Benedetti Foundation but may have to reduce public events in order to take on the new role.

READ MORE: Glasgow's Sonica festival 2022 to make a splash after three-year hiatus

Since achieving global recognition, she has toured the world, playing alongside the best orchestras and conductors on the planet.

And she previously won the Queen’s Medal for Music in 2017, becoming the youngest evert recipient of the reward – on top of her nine honorary degrees.

Benedetti said: "I am deeply honoured to contribute to the long and rich history of the Edinburgh International Festival and the cultural landscape of Scotland.

"This festival was founded on principles of reconciliation and the ideals of art transcending political and cultural fracture.

"Following in the footsteps of the wonderful achievements of Fergus Linehan and his predecessors, I will uphold these values and greatly look forward to serving this festival, its mission of cultural exchanges, and the people of Scotland."

READ MORE: How to spend 48 hours in Edinburgh - from cultural hotspots to delicious food

Keith Skeoch, Edinburgh International Festival board of trustees chair, said: "It is such a pleasure to welcome Nicola Benedetti as both the first woman and the first Scottish director of the Edinburgh International Festival.

"In many ways she reflects the spirit of this festival, internationally recognised and respected but Scottish to her core, she's dedicated to advocating world-class music making and innovating new ways to bring it to audiences.

"As an artist, her string of collaborators reads like a who's who of the world of classical music and as an educator she has reached tens of thousands worldwide."

He added: "I have no doubt that she will bring a wealth of new ideas to the organisation and build on Fergus' exceptional work from the last eight years."