CONDUCTOR Natalia Luis-Bassa grows in stature.

She has improved Huddersfield Philharmonic's attack and ensemble, and, now that she has cellos and basses playing on the pulse rather than slightly behind, she is able to shape and phrase the music.

No mean feat in this programme of episodic works by two Russians who are any thing but Russian in style and two Americans whose musical language is American through and through.

Rimsky-Korsakov's Russian Easter Festival Overture is a soulless exercise in brilliant west European orchestration, devoid of development and full of awkward pauses.

Yet Luis-Bassa was able to make some musical sense of it.

Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake ballet suite is - by its very nature - bitty and `westernised'.

Yet here, Luis-Bassa drew from the Philharmonic a sense of flow and coherence, and her subtle phrasing in the Czardas injected some blood into Tchaikovsky's effete little dance.

The mainstream and slightly minimalist contemporary American composer Michael Torke can trace his style back to Gershwin.

His Concerto for Soprano Saxophone is sunny in temperament and largely dependent on three pleasing tunes.

Soloist Anna Lamplough, a Huddersfield University graduate now studying with Rob Buckland and Andy Scott at the Royal Northern College of Music, was utterly committed to the concertante role Torke had cast for her, and wonderfully responsive to the ripieno ripplings in the orchestra behind her.

An American in Paris is awash with genuine humanity and meaning. Gershwin knew it.

Luis-Bassa and the Orchestra knew it too, and gave a splendid performance.