Tayside Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Richard Allan for the first time, presented an interesting and musical adventurous programme in Forfar's Reid Hall, writes a music correspondant

They had invited two of the country's top string players, husband and wife team, Maya Iwabuchi, violin, and Matthias Feile, cello, to play (the) Concerto for Violin and Cello by Brahms.

Even by professional standards, the performances of both soloists and orchestra were outstanding and it is difficult to credit that we were listening to a largely amateur orchestra whose rehearsals had begun in August.

The programme opened with the Capriccio Sinfonico by Puccini, a piece which he had composed to celebrate his graduation from the Milan Conservatory. From the rich, opening chords in the dramatic introduction to the bright theme instantly recognisable from his opera La Boheme, the orchestra captured the mood of the piece and held the audience's attention.

Maya and Matthias' playing of the Brahms was stunning and colourful.

After the interval, the audience enjoyed two contrasting works - the Ballet Suite form Sleeping Beauty by Tchaikovsky, and Tomlinson's Fantasia on Auld Lang Syne, which provided each section of the orchestra with the opportunity to step into the limelight.

Fiona Ewen, a founder member of the orchestra in 1993, intimated her retirement. Bill McLeod warmly thanked her and she was presented with a bouquet and a scroll on behalf of the players and committee.

Written in the Dundee Courier September 2016 with an edited version in The Forfar Dispatch.