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From Beethoven to the Beatles

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe succeeds admirably in providing a platform for young people to display their talents to a truly international audience. And this is never truer than when it comes to music and musical theatre.

Take, for example, the Festival of British Youth Orchestras at the Central Hall in Tollcross. With more than 25 youth orchestras from all over Britain - as well as Jeugdorkest Nederland - playing everything from classical, chamber and choral to jazz, wind band and percussion, this really is a festival within a festival.

Running from August 9 to 31, the programme features school orchestras from Barnet, Dundee, Glasgow and the Lothians; regional and county orchestras from Highland, Perth and Fife; jazz orchestras from Edinburgh and Fife; and the National Youth Choir of Scotland, as well as chamber orchestras from Edinburgh and Southampton universities. And the music? Beethoven, Mozart and Strauss rubbing shoulders with Stravinsky, Duke Ellington, Cajun folksongs and Scottish dances.

Also crossing barriers are an American "teen group" - the Lied Trio - which is playing music ranging from Beethoven to the Beatles at Greyfriars Kirk (August 9) and the Institut Francais d'Ecosse (August 10-16).

The Edinburgh Festival of Youth Chamber Choirs is running at Stockbridge Parish Church (August 25-30), and the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland plays the Usher Hall for one night (August 5).

The National Youth Music Theatre, having decamped from their former home at George Square Theatre, are now well ensconced in the Assembly Rooms, where they are presenting two shows, Aurelius the Valiant Apprentice and Tin Pan Ali. The former is a new show from the writers of Pendragon, and is a musical fantasy-cum-comedy adventure set in 17th-century England and Turkey (August 9-25).

An "educational musical" is the promise of Theatre Whatsit Youth Collective, with Schoolhouse Rock Live! at the Chaplaincy Centre. This American youth musical promises to teach "mundane principles of grammar, maths , science and American History in explosively innovative, colourful ways!" (August 12-22).

Leicestershire Youth Arts go Sixties with Hair at St Ann's Community Centre in the Cowgate (August 11-23), and compatriots North West Leicestershire Youth Theatre are presenting Bugsy Malone at Marco's Leisure Centre in Grove Street (not to be confused with the Demarco European Foundation in Albany Street).

Forth Children's Theatre are performing Oliver! at Inverleith Church Hall; Edinburgh Youth Music Theatre are presenting Brigadoon (August 11-19) and Hot Mikado (August 22-30) at Broughton High School; the Scottish Theatre and Music School are conjuring up The Wizard of Oz at St Stephen's Centre in Howe Street (August 5-16) and Shrewsbury School are entering H G Wells's The Time Machine for a musical adventure at Southside Community Centre (August 25-30).

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