A world famous violinist from West Kilbride has been named as the next director of the Edinburgh International Festival – becoming both the first woman and the first Scot to take on the prestigious role.

Nicola Benedetti, who started taking violin lessons at the age of four, said she was “deeply honoured” by the appointment.

The Grammy and Brit Award-winning musician - who was born in Irvine and grew up in West Kilbride - will succeed Fergus Linehan, who has held the post for the last eight years.

Ms Benedetti, 34, now becomes director designate of the festival, before formally becoming its director on October 1, after Mr Linehan leaves.

She 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.”

Keith Skeoch, chair of the festival’s board of trustees, said it was “such a pleasure to welcome Ms Benedetti as both the first woman and the first Scottish director of the Edinburgh International Festival”.

He added: “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.”

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon – who was also born in Irvine – welcomed the appointment.

Ms Sturgeon said: “The Edinburgh International Festival has a worldwide reputation for its excellent work in bringing world-leading artists together, celebrating the performing arts and promoting Scotland’s rich culture and heritage to an international audience.

“I’m sure that people across the country are looking forward to supporting the festival’s full in-person return after two years and welcoming visitors and artists from around the world to Scotland.

“I welcome Nicola Benedetti’s appointment as director – especially as she becomes the first woman to ever hold the role.

“Her experience in promoting Scotland’s cultural scene to audiences around the world will be invaluable and I wish her every success.”