Orchestra Europa's concert last weekend was the second of its pre-launch concerts in Oxford, before it embarks on what promises to be an exciting journey that stretches well into 2009 and includes appearances at some of the country's most prestigious venues. Formed last year to showcase some of Europe's most promising young talent, and to bridge the gap between conservatoire and professional career, Orchestra Europa provides the perfect blueprint for post-graduate orchestral training.

It is tempting to think that an orchestra consisting entirely of young musicians would be noticeably sub-standard, but Friday's concert soon dispelled that myth. The first piece, Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture, instantly established their credentials; as that famous opening melody wafted irresistibly through the Sheldonian, it was clear that this was going to be a classy performance. Energetically conducted by Scott Ellaway, this was a thoughtful and sensitive interpretation, which fully explored the composer's textural depth and colour. There were some impressive solos from the woodwind section, too. Occasionally the players' inexperience showed in a slight wavering of confidence, but for the most part it was difficult to distinguish these musicians from those of greater experience and maturity.

For Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3, the orchestra was joined by the renowned pianist David Owen Norris, whose very presence seemed to inspire the young players to greater heights. This was a suitably energetic and exciting performance, with the long first movement coming to such a magnificent and triumphant conclusion that a large chunk of the audience forgot convention and burst into spontaneous applause. In the second movement, Norris captured that lovely, dreamy theme to perfection, while the third movement returned to the ebullience of the first. After the Beethoven, it's a wonder the orchestra had any energy left, but they managed to find extra reserves for Haydn's "London" Symphony, and this was a fresh and buoyant performance, with - once again - some impressive solo work from the winds.