A brand new orchestra took to the stage on Sunday night to introduce themselves. The Enigma Orchestra, co-founded this year by Robert Weaver and Arian Aghababaie, is made up of high-standard amateur instrumentalists from in and around Bristol. The orchestral team had coordinated all the visual aspects of the concert with a theme of white, red and black. Everything matched, from the programmes to the red uplights and the red and black flower brooches adorning the female performers.

Not shy of attempting a bold and heavy programme, the Enigma Orchestra combined three challenging pieces by Mozart and Beethoven – an overture, a concerto and a symphony. The link between the pieces in the programme was well thought-out, but perhaps with less consideration of the performers. The overture to Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito was heard in the same concert as a performance of his Piano Concerto no. 20 in D minor given by Beethoven at a 1795 Mozart memorial concert. An avid fan of Mozart, Beethoven composed cadenzas for the first and last movements of this concerto, and these were the cadenzas performed by Aghababaie tonight. Tirelessly, the orchestra went on the perform Beethoven’s Symphony no. 7 for the second half of the evening.

An enthusiastic conductor on stage, Robert Weaver guided the orchestra with vigour, yet also with grace. As a whole, the Enigma Orchestra peaked triumphantly in the more dramatic parts of the works they performed – in particular at the end of the Beethoven symphony. It may have been because this was the most climactic part of any score in the concert, but the Enigma Orchestra, opposite to what one would expect, gained more energy as the concert went on. The orchestra transformed into a full force from the Presto third movement to the Allegro con brio fourth of the symphony. There was one point in the concert where Weaver turned round to the audience, which felt distracting. Despite this, he is clearly a capable young conductor with potential to progress and a passion for music.

Solo pianist and co-founder Arian Aghababaie performed alongside the Enigma Orchestra for the Mozart piano concerto. This is a challenging piece for an amateur soloist, but his performance was commendable. Sometimes there was a lack of communication between the pianist and the orchestra, and at certain points the timing was lost in the music – but Aghababaie’s technical skill on the piano meant he was able to make himself aware of this and rejoin forces seamlessly. The cadenzas in the piano concerto were undoubtedly the highlight and when Aghababaie played without the orchestra for these two wonderful moments, he demonstrated his true skill as a concert pianist. His style is meticulous – perfect for Mozart – and from inside the mind. When watching him, one can see a lot of thought and detail has gone into every note.

I was unsure what to expect, but this concert resulted in far more than a simple orchestra of University of Bristol graduates. The evening left me with no doubt that this was an amateur orchestra with an air of professionalism in tow. The concept behind the Enigma Orchestra was coordinated, although it felt at times like more focus needed to be put on the music. Altogether, however, it was an enjoyable evening of promising young talent and an orchestra to watch again.