About project

Who are we?

International Lutosławski Youth Orchestra is a 100% free orchestral workshop for young musicians held every year. Its aim is to enable them to gain experience and skills in playing in a symphony orchestra. The workshop lasts about a week and is usually held at the end of August. Participants first work in instrumental sections, conducted by experienced orchestra musicians from leading Polish and foreign ensembles as well as outstanding teachers. Only in recent years, ILYO tutors have included musicians from the Berliner Philharmoniker, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Philharmonia Orchestra and the Polish National Radio Orchestra in Katowice. After the sectionals, young musicians participate in tutti rehearsals with an experienced conductor and soloist. This is when the International Lutosławski Youth Orchestra is actually created. At the end of the workshop, the orchestra gives at least two concerts for a real audience. One of them always takes place in the golden hall of the Szczecin Philharmonic, where the workshop is held, the other is performed in another reputed classical music venue. The line-up of the International Lutosławski Youth Orchestra is renewed every year.

It all started in 2013 when we celebrated the 100th birth anniversary of Witold Lutosławski, who was undoubtedly one of the greatest composers of the 20th century. We then decided to open the doors of our Philharmonic to young musicians and give them a chance to gain invaluable experience in playing in a real symphony orchestra. We invited young, talented instrumentalists and exceptional tutors from all over Europe, who prepared the participants, note by note, during masterclasses in individual instrumental sections, for the first symphony concert. We wanted it to be an international orchestra from the very beginning because we believe that music knows no boundaries. That is why its repertoire includes works of contemporary music. Only a few youth orchestras give young musicians a chance to prove themselves in this demanding and challenging repertoire.

It is how we became the first international youth symphony orchestra in Poland! This extraordinary musical meeting turned out to be so successful that we knew immediately that it would become a tradition of the Philharmonic in Szczecin. And that's what happened!

In 2014, we moved to the new Philharmonic building, which has become an architectural icon of Szczecin and Europe. In the same year, the shape of our new headquarters received the prestigious Eurobuild Awards 2014. In addition, it won the "architectural Oscar" Mies van der Rohe Award a year later. Our new edifice stands in the same place where the German Konzerthaus Stettin stood before World War II – thus, we continue the musical traditions of our beautiful city. But architectural laurels are not just about prestige. It is an appreciation of the extraordinary acoustic qualities of our two concert halls (symphonic and chamber) and highly modern and comfortable working conditions for musicians, which this remarkable building guarantees.

In 2022, between August 10 and 19, the 10th jubilee edition of the project took place, and ILYO played for the first time in Berlin at the largest festival of youth orchestras in the world – Young Euro Classic. This festival has been opening the stage of the Berlin Konzerthaus for over twenty years for young instrumentalists from all over the world. ILYO's debut in the capital of Germany turned out to be a great success. The numerous audience rewarded the young musicians with a longlasting and enthousistic ovation, and the concert received praises in the German media.
The event was also broadcast in its entirety on the German public radio Deutschlandfunk Kultur.

In 2023 the International Lutosławski Youth Orchestra performed twice: in the National Forum of Music in Wrocław (August 24) and in the golden hall of the Philharmonic (August 25).

International Lutosławski Youth Orchestra is a project aiming to create a professional educational program for young musicians, which is an opportunity for them to gain experience and skills in playing in an orchestra. Outstanding musicians and conductors lead the participants from the very beginning of the workshops, so it is also a dream opportunity for those planning a career as a soloist in the future.

We cordially invite you to Szczecin in 2024 for the next edition of ILYO!