Preview: Paul MacAlindin at Edinburgh International Book Festival

Compelling tale of the Scottish conductor and the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq

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Preview: Paul MacAlindin at Edinburgh International Book Festival

'I don't regret any of it and I wouldn't do any of it again' says Paul MacAlindin, the Scottish-born conductor who not only took up the baton of the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq, but led its remarkable journey from birth in the war-ravaged country to outstanding performances in Germany, France and the UK. From the starting point of MacAlindin picking up a newspaper and reading about the brainchild of Iraqi teenage musician, Zuhal Sultan, while eating fish and chips in Edinburgh's Barony Bar, his experiences were always going to make a story that needed to be told.

In his new book, Upbeat, he's done it. At the Book Festival, alongside Kurdish-Iraqi musician Tara Jaff, MacAlindin will re-live some of the highs and lows of a project which brought together young people from different cultural and religious backgrounds, united by their common passion to make music together against all the odds. From standing ovations and the deep-rooted transformational power of music to heal and rebuild lives, to 'the worst I've ever felt in my life is when it fell apart in 2014', MacAlindin's story is a compelling one that brings into stark relief the realities of post-war Iraq, particularly for its youth.

Charlotte Square Gardens, 13 Aug, 8.30pm, £8 (£6).

Paul MacAlindin

Scottish conductor Paul MacAlindin has worked worldwide, but his most remarkable role was as musical director of the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq. Against a backdrop of conflict, he recruited musicians from diverse areas including Kurdistan and Baghdad and helped build bridges across the deepest of ethnic divisions.

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