BRADLEY Creswick has enjoyed a distinguished career with Royal Northern Sinfonia, endearing himself to audiences with his infectious enthusiasm, unbounded energy and dazzling artistry.

First appointed leader 30 years ago, he went on to the bright lights of London, before being drawn back to the North-East to take up his position again 20 years ago.

Creswick celebrated both anniversaries at Sage Gateshead with a towering performance of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D.

One critic slammed the work at its 1881 premier saying, “the violin is no longer played -it is yanked about, it is torn asunder, it is beaten black and blue”. Creswick did it with style.

If his opening was almost understated, it served only to accentuate a mounting tension that bubbled over in a sparkling cadenza.

His slow movement had an aching beauty and flowed seamlessly to a swirling climax.

After the intensity of Tchaikovsky, Creswick introduced the second half of the programme with a heart-on-the-sleeve performance of Dvorak’s Romance in F minor for violin and orchestra.

Another occasion of the evening was the debut of opera North’s conductor Richard Farnes at the helm of the RNS.

Keeping a firm hand on the tiller throughout, he opened proceedings with a bright and tight account of Mozart’s Symphony No 32 and brought out the full drama of the concluding performance of Schubert’s "Unfinished" Symphony 8.

As title of the concert suggested it was Unfinished Business. So it will be for Creswick - and long may he remain.

Farnes for his part will return to the venue with Opera North to navigate Wagner’s Flying Dutchman on Friday July 3.