Karol Szymanowski Youth Symphony Orchestra – Symphony Orchestra of the Karol Szymanowski Secondary Music School in the Wojciech Kilar State Music School Complex in Katowice
The orchestra’s activity is closely connected to the history of the oldest art and general music school in Poland. The ensemble was founded in 1945 by Karol Stryja. In 1997, to mark the 60th anniversary of Karol Szymanowski’s death, it adopted the name of this composer. The orchestra has been led by conductors such as Czesław Orsztynowicz, Napoleon Siess, Zdzisław Szostak, Renard Czajkowski, Aleksander Warykiewicz (long-time school director), Sławomir Chrzanowski, Jan Miłosz Zarzycki, Szymon Bywalec, Maciej Tomasiewicz, and since 2019, Wojciech Wantulok.
The orchestra has performed in numerous concert halls in Poland and abroad. It represented Poland at the World Youth Festivals in Budapest, Berlin, Bologna, Mannheim, as well as in Australia and Canada. In Poland, young musicians have made appearances at the National Philharmonic and taken part in various music festivals. The ensemble has been a stepping stone for many now renowned musicians, and famous artists made their debuts with its accompaniment, including Lidia Kozubek, Witold Szalonek, Józef Świder, Tadeusz Żmudziński, Wojciech Kilar, Jadwiga Romańska, Krystyna Szostek-Radkowa, Tadeusz Strugała, Napoleon Siess, Edward Bogusławski, Eugeniusz Knapik, Aleksander Lasoń, Krystian Zimerman, Stanisław Sojka, Marcin Pospieszalski. Guest conductors of the school orchestra include Jerzy Maksymiuk, Marek Pijarowski, Jerzy Salwarowski, and Massimiliano Caldi.
The ensemble has released several recordings and participated in numerous radio and television broadcasts. A high-performance level of the school orchestra, resulting from the excellent teaching in instrumental and chamber classes, as well as the youthful enthusiasm of the musicians, has been appreciated by both audiences and music critics, both within the country and internationally.
In 2014, led by Szymon Bywalec, the orchestra took first place in the 2nd National Competition for Secondary Music School Orchestras.