Headliner Mark O’Connor may have left them wanting a little more at Saturday night’s PSO Pops! concert. But it was strictly a question of quantity rather than quality.

The award-winning fiddler-violinist played like a true master, in duet with his wife, Maggie O’Connor, also a fine violinist, and alone in front of the Portland Symphony Orchestra.

O’Connor appeared only during the second half of the roughly 90-minute program. His emphasis was on playing likely to elicit wows and shouts of appreciation from audience members. It succeeded in doing that on more than one occasion.

His “Strings and Threads Suite” placed the two fiddlers before a strings-only assemblage of PSO members for a medley of fiddle tunes, stretching from back-porch rambles through blues and jazz variations. The O’Connors traded solos, at times exchanging playful looks suggestive of a sense of competition as to who could outdo the other in unleashing torrents of notes while also demonstrating astonishing technique.

Later, Mark O’Connor returned to the stage before the full orchestra for his “Fiddle Concerto,” a piece in the tradition of an American, folk-based orchestral music that encompasses forms originating on both sides of the Atlantic.

The work contained a couple of finely wrought moments of emotive romanticism but was most notable for the violinist’s partially improvised solo cadenzas. These remarkable demonstrations of technique were tied together by O’Connor’s obvious goal of putting a personal stamp on the performance. The crowd and some orchestra members chuckled as he employed extended percussive techniques on the body of his instrument to supplement his feverish bowing.

Save for a lovely encore of “Amazing Grace,” in duet with Maggie O’Connor, that was all that was heard directly from the star attraction.

Another of his compositions, a deeply resonant “Finale of Americana Symphony ‘Appalachia Waltz’ ” was offered by the orchestra alone.

Among other highlights in the orchestra-only portion of the program were two works by Aaron Copland. The primal call of his “Variations on a Shaker Melody,” also known by the title “Simple Gifts,” was given an appropriately uplifting reading, and “4 Dance Episodes from Rodeo” ably established some roots for the work of O’Connor to follow.

Rodgers and Bennett’s “Oklahoma Selections,” an obvious crowd favorite, gave affable conductor Andrew Crust a chance to reminisce a bit by way of introducing the piece, and Gould’s “American Salute: Johnny Comes Marching Home” suggested an unfinished American journey.

Some might have hoped for a little more playing from O’Connor, and perhaps a word or two as well, but his and the PSO’s contributions nonetheless made for a rich evening of often inspiring music.

Steve Feeney is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.