Over the forty years of its activity, the orchestra has achieved a significant position on the Polish music scene, it has also learned various methods of leading an ensemble and developed its own approach to music, combining emotional sound with clarity of texture. Critics highlight these features of the orchestra’s playing, appreciating the performances also for their extraordinary expressiveness. From the beginning, the orchestra was led by outstanding violinists/directors: Karol Teutsch, Jan Stanienda and his longtime concertmaster, Zbigniew Szufłat. Initially, it focused on the Classical and even Baroque repertoire, later expanding it to music of the 20th century. Under the direction of another superb artist, Ernst Kovacic, the orchestra began exploring the niches of 20th-century music.
CD recordings, among which albums with works by Ernst Křenek (Capriccio and Toccata Classics), Leoš Janáček (DUX) and string transcriptions of Alban Berg’s works (Berg by Arrangement, Toccata Classics; recognized by The Sunday Times as one of the best albums of the year) and with Bach’s Kunst der Fuge (CD Accord). Enthusiastic reviews were also given to the two latest albums with Christian Danowicz as the leader – Made in Poland (DUX) and Supernova (CD Accord), recorded together with the Atom String Quartet and honoured with the Fryderyk 2018 and 2019 awards. The first album recorded under the direction of Joseph Swensen was released in 2020 – featuring works by Debussy and Tchaikovsky. The album was nominated for a Fryderyk 2021.
In the years 2014–2017, Hartmut Rohde, a violist and lecturer at the Universität der Künste Berlin, was artistic director of the orchestra; he concentrated on the interpretation of Romantic works. Joseph Swensen, who took over as artistic director on 1 September 2017, has expanded the ensemble’s repertoire with both classical and recent works. Since September 2023 the position of artistic director of the orchestra has been held by Brittish violinist Alexander Sitkovetsky.
The NFM Leopoldinum Orchestra has performed in the most important venues of Europe, such as the Barbican Centre in London, Philharmonie, Konzerthaus and Schauspielhaus in Berlin, Konzerthaus in Vienna, Tivolis Concertsal in Copenhagen, Teatro Victoria Eugenia in San Sebastián, as well as during the most important European festivals, among others: Muziekfestival West-Brabant in the Netherlands, Bodenseefestival and Weilburger Schlosskonzerte in Germany, Echternach in Luxembourg, Pablo Casals Festival, Festival du Périgord Noir in France, Estoril in Portugal, Flanders Festival and Europalia in Belgium, International Festival Wratislavia Cantans and Musica Polonica Nova in Wrocław, Poland, as well as the International Festival of Contemporary Music “Warsaw Autumn”.
The NFM Leopoldinum Orchestra has collaborated with recognized artists, such as: Krzysztof Penderecki, Piotr Anderszewski, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Reinhard Goebel, Daniel Hope, Richard Tognetti, Alexander Sitkovetsky, Kolja Blacher, Radek Baborák, Sergei Nakariakov, Daniel Müller-Schott, Tedi Papavrami, Tasmin Little, Heinz Holliger, András Schiff, Konstanty Andrzej Kulka, Bartłomiej Nizioł, and Krzysztof and Jakub Jakowicz.