The Ridgefield Symphony\u2019s \u201cWelcome Maestro\u201d concert last Saturday evening, with Maestro Yuga Cohler on the podium for the first time as the orchestra\u2019s new music director, was a welcome treat, not only because it signaled a successful end of more than a year\u2019s competitive search for a new leader, but more importantly because the extraordinarily high combined quality of Cohler\u2019s direction and the orchestra\u2019s response to it suggests that Ridgefield audiences have much to look forward to in upcoming seasons. The varied program, intended to celebrate both Maestro Cohler\u2019s debut and the memory of former Ridgefield residents Howard and Rhoda Silverman, included Maurice Ravel\u2019s Le Tombeau de Couperin, Sergei Prokofiev\u2019s Violin Concerto No. 1, with RSO Concertmaster Jorge Avila as soloist, and C\u00e9sar Franck\u2019s Symphony in D minor. Le Tombeau de Couperin, serving as Ravel\u2019s tribute to the delicate elegance of early French music, is a beautiful series of dance movements featuring, particularly in the first movement, a seriously difficult solo oboe part, which RSO principal oboist Dorothy Darlington managed with easy grace. With ample evidence of serious rehearsal time, Maestro Cohler interpreted the entire work to perfection, communicating delicate shadings and phrasings to a sensitively responsive orchestra. Along with a practiced collaborative skill with his soloist, Cohler\u2019s fine-tuned general leadership was similarly in control for the Prokofiev concerto, and violinist Jorge Avila played the solo part with spectacular aplomb, with lovely phrasing and a richly supported violin tone in the work\u2019s lyric passages and impressive virtuosic agility elsewhere, especially in the concerto\u2019s exciting scherzo movement. The RSO is fortunate to have him both as a soloist and as its concertmaster. C\u00e9sar Franck\u2019s only symphony is a beautiful work but a challenging one to play because its overall development springs from a slowly played three-note motto theme that composers other than Franck had also used, often thinking of those three notes as musically suggesting a question, which Beethoven verbally translated as \u201cMuss es sein? (Must it be?). That troubling musical question is repeatedly posed throughout the symphony in a prolonged development that is finally happily resolved before the last movement ends. Maestro Cohler skillfully managed it, however, in a way that held everything together in artistic unity. And there were beautiful segments too, especially in the second movement, where (to my knowledge) Franck was the first composer to use the English horn as a thematic solo instrument \u2014 a practice frequently revisited since, famously, for instance, in the second movement of Dvorak\u2019s \u201cNew World\u201d Symphony. It was a wonderful concert, and with Yuga Cohler now on the podium, we can safely anticipate more wonderful ones for the Ridgefield Symphony\u2019s next season and beyond.