For many audience members at the Brighton Dome, Michael Collins was the unforgettable young clarinet player who won the first BBC Young Musician of the Year in 1978.

Today, he is a richly developed artist whose technical skill and breathtaking musicality reach out to orchestra and audience alike. As soloist and conductor in Mozart K622, he demonstrated effortless mastery of both.

The familiar and brilliant concerto was given fresh depth by Collins who galvanised the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra with captivating enthusiasm.

Turning this way and that to face the players and the audience as required, his ability to communicate the magic of Mozart was just superb and his control of the musical dynamics was marvellous.

Listeners to his pre-performance talk were alerted to an open and accessible musician, generously able to share knowledge and insight as well as certain technical features of the basset clarinet specifically required for K622.

The concert opened with Beethoven’s symphony No l, an early work in the style galant of the late 18th century, given terrific brio and pace by Collins and the orchestra and concluded with music from a similar date by Joseph Haydn, the symphony No 102.

Collins and the orchestra played this charming, melodic symphony almost as if it was for the Esterhazy court. It felt full of attractive rhythmic pulse and appeared to be much faster than usual – there were many feet tapping quietly under their seats.

It is unusual for a wind player to leave his instrument behind and pick up an orchestral baton, but Michael Collins is a rare musician as his many awards and positions already shows.

He doesn’t use the stick, entertainingly claiming that using his hands warms them up for instrumental performance. It’s all just wonderful.