NFM ORKIESTRA LEOPOLDINUM
Over almost four decades of its activities, the NFM Leopoldinum Orchestra has achieved a position of renown on the classical music scene, experienced various approaches to leading the orchestra, and elaborated their own approach to music, combining sound emotiveness with transparency of texture and clarity of parts. It is to these features of Leopoldinum’s playing that critics draw our attention to, valuing its productions also for the musicians’ conspicuous engagement with the music.
Since its inception, the orchestra has been directed by outstanding violinists as leaders: Karol Teutsch, Jan Stanienda, and Leopoldinum’s long-time concertmaster Zbigniew Szufłat. Initially, the orchestra focused on the classical and baroque repertoire, later to expand its programmes to include music up to the 20th century, which resulted in highly acclaimed recordings.
Since several years, the ensemble has focused on the music of outstanding 20thand 21st-century composers, overlooked in the process of defining repertoire canons. Thus Leopoldinum reveals to their listeners works of the highest order, but remaining beyond the concert mainstream, and at the same time astonishing in their quality and genuine mastery. Under the artistic directorship of another distinguished musician, Ernst Kovacic, the orchestra could begin their exploration of various niches in 20th-century music. is mission has resulted in CD recordings, with particular success for the works of Ernst Křenek (two albums released on Capriccio and Toccata Classics) and Leoš Janáček (DUX), string arrangements of works by Alban Berg (Berg by Arrangement, Toccata Classics, hailed by The Sunday Times as one of the best CDs of the year), or Kunst der Fuge (CD Accord) showing how much Bach has been a patron to numerous composers, including those writing contemporary music.
The ensemble has performed in Europe’s major venues including London’s Barbican Centre, Berlin’s Philharmonic, Konzerthaus and Schauspielhaus, Vienna’s Konzerthaus, Copenhagen’s Tivoli, San Sebastián’s Teatro Victoria Eugenia, and at the leading European festivals such as Pablo Casals Festival in Prado, Muziekfestival West-Brabant in Holland, Bodenseefestival and Weilburger Schlosskonzerte in Germany, Echternach in Luxembourg, Festival de Musique du Périgord Noir in France, Estoril in Portugal, Flanders Festival, Europalia.Europa in Belgium, as well as Wrocław’s Wratislavia Cantans and Musica Polonica Nova. Since September 2017, violinist and conductor Joseph Swensen has been artistic director of the NFM Leopoldinum Orchestra.