Sir George Bain is stepping down as chairman of the Ulster Orchestra after five years in the post.
Sir George, who leaves next week, has expressed hopes that the orchestra will continue as a "going concern" following the financial crisis of the recent past.
On Friday night he was given a farewell gift from the orchestra and administrative staff during a presentation ceremony after the interval of a concert in the Ulster Hall.
He was presented with a framed picture of the ensemble, with all the players' signatures, by managing director Richard Wigley, who paid tribute.
He said: "Sir George has led the orchestra with his characteristic resolve and strength through the most difficult five-year journey.
"That we are all here tonight is a credit to the outstanding advocacy of George and his colleagues on the Ulster Orchestra board."
Following sustained applause from the large Ulster Hall audience, Sir George said: "I cannot think of a more fitting present than a picture of the orchestra in the Ulster Hall.
"The fact that the Ulster Orchestra survived the financial cuts of the last five years - and it nearly did not - gives us all comfort and satisfaction."
Looking to the future, he said: "There are signs that the structures, policies and people put in place during the last few years have provided the basis for the orchestra not just to survive but to thrive.
"I hope that we will be able to confirm at the AGM on December 13 that the Ulster Orchestra is a going concern, and that my successor who will be elected at the AGM will be able to announce next year a new financial settlement which ensures that the band will play on not just for another year, but also for the foreseeable future."