Poland's Sinfonia Iuventus, or Youth Symphony, has emerged as a counterpart to such groups as the Gustav Mahler Jugend Orchester: an ensemble of musicians under 30 years old, drawn from among graduates and students of the country's top music schools, serving as a training ground for national musical institutions, but often, through top-notch skills and charismatic youthful energy, seizing the spotlight for itself.
The Sinfonia was the brainchild of conductor Jerzy Semkow, who formed it under the aegis of Poland's Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, on October 1, 2007. It gave its first concert in June of 2008 and since then has performed under both Polish and international conductors. These have included Charles Dutoit, José Maria Florêncio, Gabriel Chmura, Kazimierz Kord, Jan Krenz, Grzegorz Nowak, Krzysztof Penderecki, Jerzy Salwarowski, George Tchitchinadze, Antoni Wit, Tadeusz Wojciechowski, and Maxim Vengerov. The orchestra has also attracted top-rank soloists, mostly from Eastern Europe, for concerto performances.
The recording activities of the Sinfonia Iuventus have been unusually diverse, especially for such a new ensemble. The group has recorded for Universal Music, CD Accord, the Polish label Dux, Polish radio, and the American contemporary music label Albany Records. The orchestra's two main patrons, Semkow and Penderecki, who became its official patron in 2013, have led the group in acclaimed recordings, Semkow in an album of music by Schubert and Tchaikovsky, and Penderecki in a set of his own symphonies. The latter release won an International Classical Music Award in 2014. Signed to the popular Warner Classics label, the orchestra released a disc of symphonic music by Prokofiev and Mieczyslaw Weinberg in 2017, and seemed headed for both commercial and critical success. In addition to numerous performances in Poland, the orchestra has toured in Austria, China, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and Ukraine.