A Mass from Polish Orchestra, Perfectly Timed
The orchestra (Wrocław Philharmonic of Poland) played to a nearly full house in St. Patrick’s Cathedral (…) Mariusz Smolij, the orchestra’s music director, led a compelling performance.
J.R. Oestreich, The New York Times, New York


Rheingau Music Festival: Chamber Orchestra from Wrocław
The Wroclaw Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra performed Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony in a spectacular way. Clarity and dynamic elegance were well captured. The ensemble was responding with spontaneity and charming sense of humor. The suite from El Amor Brujo by M. de Falla was played under the inspiring direction of Mariusz Smolij with great energy and temperament earning great ovations. However, it was the conductor who was in the central role here, bringing to life variety of subtle nuances and effects.
G. Hermann, Wiesbadener Kurier, Wiesbaden, Germany


New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Concert
Lutoslawski’s Little Suite opened the program in colorfully splashy fashion. Next, Joshua Bell, one of the most impressive violinist on the scene, technically flawless ... Conductor (of the New Jersey Symphony) Mariusz Smolij seemed to be the perfect partner, for he pulled long, shapely lines from the orchestra to match Bell’s.
P. Sommers, Star Ledger, Newark, New Jersey


Symphony Orchestra from Wrocław, Poland
Symphony No. 5 by S. Prokofiev was presented in the second part of the concert. This typical, in its formal structure symphony, received splendid interpretation from the Polish orchestra from Wroclaw. The spirited and talented orchestra, under the excellent leadership of Mariusz Smolij, showed great dynamism and beauty of sound.
L. Pfaadt, Affiches Monteur, Strasbourg, France


Festival Wratislavia Cantans (Poland)
At the Wratislavia Cantans Festival, the rarely heard Missa Solenelle by Hector Berlioz was given a top-class performance. Mariusz Smolij led the Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra, the Silesian Philharmonic Chorus and soloists in the large St. Mary Magdalene Cathedral filling it with full sound.
Dr. M. Lafite, Österreichische Musikzeitschrift, Vienna, Austria


ASO’s Maestro is spellbinding in first concert (Acadiana Symphony Orchestra)
The orchestra presented a haunting exchange of motifs that created a musical trilogy, passed between the different sections. At the selection’s conclusion, one passionate audience member substituted a shouted, “What a beginning” in lieu of the showers of “Bravo” offered by his less affected audience mates. I couldn’t agree with the gentleman more.
R. Blum, Acadiana Daily Advertiser, Lafayette, Louisiana


German Poetry and Woman Composers
The Northwestern Orchestra under Mariusz Smolij was superb in every department, they brought both passion and delicacy to the beautiful orchestration.
(M. Ptaszyńska’s Sonnets of Orpheus)
R. Kaczemura, Chicago Culture Magazine, Chicago


CD of the week: Panufnik, Polish Chamber Orchestra, Smolij
The Old Polish Suite and Concerto in Modo Antico are bright, though never quite carefree, while Homage a Chopin for flute and string ensemble avoids sentimentalizing the national hero and reflects more on his introspection than his insurrectionist zeal. You don't have to be Polish to feel the beauty...
N. Lebrecht, London Evening Standard, London


Conductor Mesmerizes Macky Auditorium (Boulder Philharmonic, CO)
The exuberant "Bartered Bride" dances set the stage for a remarkably satisfying evening of music.(...) The crowd - one of the largest in recent memory at a Phil concert - was already prepared to give the conductor a standing ovation after the overture (Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet). It would clearly be a challenge for him to maintain this level of excellence, but in the suite of music from Gershwin's operatic masterpiece (Porgy and Bess), he did just that.(...) There is no doubt that Smolij availed himself remarkably well in presenting a memorable, surprisingly unified program and in gaining the obvious admiration of the orchestra.
K.D. Hansen, Daily Camera, Boulder, Colorado


What a Treat! (Zádor CD vol. 3 - Naxos)
Artistic quality: 10/10, Sound quality: 10/10
As with the previous release in this series, the performances are excellent. The orchestra plays with enthusiasm; this is quality music that’s evidently a lot of fun to play. Mariusz Smolij conducts as though he’s been performing these pieces forever, and the engineering is top-notch. Another terrific disc from Naxos!
D. Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com, Portland, Maine, USA


Wratislavia, One of its kind festival in Europe
The first European performance of F. Liszt’s St. Stanislaus Oratorio was a true revelation of this festival. It received masterly performance from the soloists, the Silesian Philharmonic Chorus and the Wroclaw Philharmonic under the direction of Mariusz Smolij.
J. Kański, Twoja Muza, Warsaw, Poland


DSSO guest conductor, chorus keep ‘Inspirations’ energy high
Divine Inspirations,” concert was a tremendously pleasing event. Twice, the audience was unhesitating in its standing ovation for the musical performance, as well as the overt passion of guest conductor Mariusz Smolij.
Samuel Black, Duluth New Tribune, Duluth, Minnesota


Two fine works rich in Magyar colours (Rozsa, vol. 1 CD - Naxos)
The Hungarian Serenade started its life in the early 1930's (...), it is high-quality music and superbly played here. Karni proves a fine advocate of the Viola Concerto and the Budapest Concert Orchestra under the direction of Mariusz Smolij provide excellent support.
Guy Rickards, The Gramophone Magazine, United Kingdom


Smolij, Vorobiev and the ASO: Sheer Brilliance (Acadiana Symphony Orchestra)
Vorobiev and Smolij moved from mood to mood with a seamless grace and caught each of the moods (of Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on the Theme by Paganini) with a skill that is seldom achieved — an Ohm’ God moment.
One of the strengths of Rachmaninov’s composition is that while it allows, and indeed demands the genius of a profoundly talented pianist, it also allows the remainder of the orchestra to engage in performing an equally demanding and beautiful accompaniment. One of the great strengths of Smolij is his ability to interpret extremely difficult compositions, such as this one, and bring out the best in the musicians under his baton.
R. Bloom, Acadiana Daily Advertiser, Lafayette, Louisiana


Andrzej Panufnik, Polish Chamber Orchestra (Naxos CD)
The music on this new disc, more than half of it recorded for the first time, is somewhat in lines with Respighi's Antient Airs and Dances or Warlock's Capriol Suite, but obviously with a flavor of its own. The composer's great ear for delectable surfaces is superbly represented here by the performances under Mariusz Smolij.
M. Dervan, The Irish Times, Dublin, Ireland


Mahler, Smolij prove a powerful combo
The guest conductor mines the depths of Mahler's Symphony No. 1 and gets it from the Boise Philharmonic (…) Smolij and the Philharmonic wrung every bit of heartbreak, joy, humor and sober reflection from the piece. Throughout the night Smolij showed himself an apt conductor with a marvelous talent for manipulating tempo and the subtle nuances of color, tone and texture.
D. Oland, The Idaho Statesman, Boise, Idaho


Music by Tadeusz Szeligowski (Szeligowski CD - Naxos)
The Poznań Philharmonic plays its best, led here with terrific energy by Mariusz Smolij. This conductor must be especially comfortable with the musical esthetics of the neo-classical style. He proves that also in a very good CD with music by Panufnik that he recorded for Naxos with the Polish Chamber Orchestra. Szeligowski's recordings are extremely lively and bring out the best out of that forgotten music. This CD should be in collections of every curious music lover, a real finder, highly recommended.
Adam Suprynowicz, Ruch Muzyczny, Warsaw, Poland


Houston Symphony - Facing the Music
Smolij’s technique was very clear; he made essential points efficiently and without ostentation. He and the musicians (of the Houston Symphony) quickly became engrossed in their music-making. Despite the limited amount of rehearsal time, interpretations were sharply shaped. The (Enesco’s) Romanian Rhapsody passed one ad hoc test: the rhythmic vitality made my foot start tapping involuntarily.
Ch. Ward, Houston Chronicle, Houston, Texas


Sterling performances (Rozsa CD - Naxos)
The Budapest Symphony Orchestra turns in sterling performances for Mariusz Smolij, and the stage for Naxos’s recording is wide and deep. A welcome and recommended addition to the catalog.
J. Dubins, Fanfare Magazine, Tenafly, New Jersey


Reason and discipline in the work of Polish conductor
To lead the orchestra (l’Orchestra del Teatro Olimpico, Vicenza) was Polish conductor Mariusz Smolij. His gestures were simple, but he was in evident control of every section of the orchestra and taking care of each musical detail. His interpretation (of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 3) was vivid and with soft, but decisive dynamism. He lights signals with controlled efficiency that referred to the classical aspiration of the Russian composer, but without compromising his melodic vein.
C. Galla, Il Giornale di Vicenza, Vicenza, Italy


Celebrity series concert a gloriously lyric delight (Symphony Nova Scotia)
It was a glory, a perfectly realized moment of joint artistic force with soloist M. Fewer, guest conductor Mariusz Smolij and the (Symphony Nova Scotia) orchestra all hitting the same mark at the same time. Smolij is a superb accompanist.
S. Pedersen, The Chronicle Herald, Halifax, Canada


Andrzej Panufnik, Polish Chamber Orchestra (Naxos CD)
Mariusz Smolij leads the Polish Chamber Orchestra in performance of striking sensitivity and precision. My attention was drawn repeatedly to their delicacy and unusually refined phrasing.
W. Simmons, Fanfare Magazine, Tenafly, New Jersey


The Wonderful Ways of Inspiration (Musica Nova Chamber Orchestra, Tel Aviv)
At the Musica Nova concert we were presented with the "Orpheus Serenade" by William Bolcom (…) The Serenade reminded us that the modern music, well performed and well conducted, (here by Mariusz Smolij), can be really entertaining and full of joy.
H. Hitron, Haaretz, Tel Aviv, Israel


One of the highlights of the year (Zádor, vol. 2 CD – Naxos)
The works on this new Naxos release cover the broad arch of Zador’s concert works displaying a wide range of amazing color and melodic inventiveness. Mariusz Smolij and the Budapest Symphony get to show off their ability to shift from more traditional to more atonal music quite naturally capturing the many moods in this music. The recording is very immediate and captures the performances in realistic sound. Easily recommended as one of the highlights of the year.
M. Steve, Cinemusical, St. Paul, Minnesota


Visit by Wroclaw Philharmonic was something to remember
In the first American tour, orchestra casts a musical spell. Wroclaw Philharmonic presented performance to remember. Throughout the concert, each section performed flawlessly. Rappe’s (alto soloist) singing suggested foreboding and lamentation and Smolij led an orchestra that could not have been more responsive to a soloist.
R. Shapella, Bucks County Herald, Lahaska, Pennsylvania


Romuald Twardowski, Toruń Symphony Orchestra (Naxos CD)
The Toruń Symphony Orchestra is a superb ensemble. The conducting of Smolij demonstrates that he is a most remarkable musician, capable of bringing great precision to the orchestra.
Karl F. Miller, Fanfare Magazine, Tenafly, New Jersey


Tadeusz Szeligowski, Poznań Philharmonic, Smolij (Naxos CD)
Once again, Naxos is to be praised for making virtually unknown music available to the masses in excellent performances on this CD. The Poznań Philharmonic is a top-notch ensemble. Smolij makes excellent case for this music.
R. Tuttle, Classical Net, www.classical.net, California, USA


Orchestra Nails It in the Second Half (Peoria Symphony Orchestra)
Something like a thunder of approval greeted the conclusion of Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade Suite, which occupied the program's second half. They really nailed it, creating, at times, a wall of sound: a wash of galloping rhythms, blaring brass, rushing strings and, somewhere above it all, a tingling triangle. Smolij led the orchestra in a performance that was tight, focused and enthralling. Both in the overture and in the concert's second half, the players really appeared to connect not only with the music, but with the audience as well.
G. Panetta, Peoria Journal News, Peoria, Illinois


Tadeusz Szeligowski, Poznań Philharmonic, Poland (Naxos CD)
The Poznań Philharmonic, under the direction of Mariusz Smolij performs Szeligowski's music in mastery manner. The pianist, B. Czapiewski dazzles with both his technique and his sound. The recording proves how beautifully forgotten music can sound. CD for everyone interested in Polish culture and music. Highly recommended.
A. Jędrasik, Nasz Dziennik, Warsaw, Poland


Andrzej Panufnik, Polish Chamber Orchestra (Naxos CD)
In the CD titled Homage to Polish Music the arrangements are all done with taste, subtlety and – most importantly – with affection. (…) This release is a must for all Panufnik admirers. Other will of course find a lot to enjoy here. Performances and recording are very fine. A lovely disc.
H. Culot, Musicweb International, www.musicweb-international.com, Loughton, Essex, U.K.


Connecting strands of meaning (Riverside Symphonia, New Jersey)
Haydn's Sturm und Drang symphonies must be brought to life by a conductor with ideas. Smolij's conception of and care for details large and small produced the finest performance of this work (Symphony No. 44) I have heard to date. Nuances upon which he insisted in rehearsals (I asked players) were well within stylistic limits but made the music alive with feeling. Carefully wrought balances open new vistas of the music, vistas too often ignored by even very well-known conductors.
P. Somers, Classical New Jersey, Plainfield, New Jersey


Houston Symphony
The concert opened in a great form with Mariusz Smolij leading the orchestra in a dreamy and exciting performance of Gershwin’s Cuban Overture. It had the entire rhythmic flavor and was perfect for the summer evening. The performance was superb from start to finish.
B. Bentley, The Houston Courier, Houston, Texas


HSO reveals Shakespeare in Love
The Huntsville Symphony Orchestra continued its season with concert entitled "Shakespeare in Love". Tchaikovsky's romantic version (of Romeo and Juliet) contrasted nicely with Bernstein's modern and eclectic interpretation. Together the works were striking, and the symphony even performed a brief encore of the Symphonic Dances at the end of the concert. The spectacular performance was conducted by Mariusz Smolij.
J. Raub, The Huntsville Times, Huntsville, Alabama


ASO and Chorale Acadienne Ooze with Talent
When Mariusz Smolij came back to Lafayette to conduct the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra, the reaction was like being given a stupendous merry birthday present. Maestro Smolij has near-perfection ability to balance orchestra and chorus, such that each group is able to achieve its highest potential. (…) Smolij is performer’s conductor. To quote a member of Chorale Acadienne, “It’s almost as if you don’t need to come to rehearsals. During the performance, he conducts, and everyone knows exactly what they have to do and when.”
R. Blum, Acadiana Daily Advertiser, Lafayette, Louisiana


Guest conductor turns in very good performance
From start to finish, this was by far the most successful concert of the season. Guest conductor Mariusz Smolij had the orchestra (Erie Philharmonic) playing with great subtlety and nuance, with the strings sounding limpid all evening long. In its slower movements the music rose to an eloquence and dignity that were stirring.
J. Chacona, Erie Daily Times, Erie, Pennsylvania


Symphony Gives Life to “Planets”
Smolij, (leading the Omaha Symphony) with his economical, natural and effective baton technique admirable managed the work’s (Holst’s Planets) sheer magnitude, bringing a sense of integrity to the whole while giving shape to the distinctive identities of each section-from the brutal powers and urgency of Mars to the otherworldly mysticism of Neptune.
K. Mac Millan, Omaha World-Herald, Omaha, Nebraska


Guest-conducted ISO romancing the Prairie with appealing works
At the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra concert Smolij who gave well-organized notes from the stage, put together a tunefully appealing but unhackneyed program. (…) Smolij made very fine impression with excerpts from Prokofiev’s ballet, Romeo and Juliet, especially in the proud strut of Montagues and Capulets, the passionate passages of Romeo at Juliet’s Tomb and the grisly explosions in Tybalt’s Death.
Ch. Staff, The Indianapolis Star, Indianapolis, Indiana


Grażyna Bacewicz, Capella Bydgostiensis, Poland  (Naxos CD)
Symphony for String Orchestra - this is vintage Bacewicz at her very best, played with zeal and distinction. Smolij and the Capella come through with interpretations of great dash and panache, plus a sensitivity toward the brittle lyric qualities that also set Bacewicz off as something special. This is prime Bacewicz, done with the spirit the music demands. It is an excellent recording. Highly recommended!
G.A. Edwards, Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review


Eugene Zádor, Budapest Symphony Orchestra (Zádor vol. 5 CD – Naxos)
Conductor Smolij seems to be in total sympathy with the music. His sense of nuance and his choice of tempos seem ideally suited to these works, and the performances suggest that everyone involved was in love with them. The orchestra plays magnificently. One could not ask for more from a performance. The recorded sound is excellent.
Karl F. Miller, Fanfare Magazine, Tenafly, New Jersey


Miklos Rózsa, Budapest Symphony Orchestra (Rózsa vol. 2 CD – Naxos)
Naxos is working its way through a survey of Rózsa’s concert works, this being the third volume in the series to appear, and with it, a claimed coup: The Rhapsody for Cello and Orchestra is said to be a world premiere recording. The Budapest Symphony Orchestra turns in sterling performances for Mariusz Smolij, and the stage for Naxos’s recording is wide and deep. A welcome and recommended addition to the catalog.
Jerry Dubins, Fanfare Magazine, Tenafly, New Jersey


Eugene Zádor, Budapest Symphony Orchestra (Zádor vol. 2 CD – Naxos)
Naxos has introduced a second volume of Zador using the same orchestra and conductor with nothing short of spectacular results. If you’re interested in the works of Rozsa, both classical and film, this will be a welcome addition to your library. The Budapest Symphony is right at home with this material as the notes flow seamlessly. 
Film Music: The Neglected Art, San Francisco


Eugene Zádor, Budapest Symphony Orchestra (Zádor vol. 3 CD – Naxos)
Polish conductor Mariusz Smolij elicits rousing performances from the Budapest MÁV Symphony Orchestra that turn what might otherwise come off as ordinary fare into a memorable listening experience. Lush strings, mellow woodwinds and lusty brass characterize an ensemble where all the soloists are virtuosos in their own right.
Bob McQuiston, Classical Lost and Found, USA


Eugene Zádor, Budapest Symphony Orchestra (Zádor vol. 1 CD – Naxos)
The performances on this disc are excellent. The Budapest Symphony Orchestra MÁV plays with great spirt and finesse under Mariusz Smolij. Zádor was, as you might expect, a superb orchestrator. He did it for a living, after all, and by this I don’t mean he resorted to a gratuitous excess of color standing in for musical inspiration, but rather a knack for finding the right sound to convey the musical message. These players seem to appreciate this aspect of the music; the playing has soul, however subjective that may sound, while the engineering is excellent. Get to know this music; it’s worth your time.
David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com, Portland, Maine, USA


Simply great release (Zádor vol. 1 CD – Naxos)
Mariusz Smolij and the Budapest Symphony continue to show an affinity for these pieces with committed performances. The performances are wonderfully captured in a good overall sound with a touch of ambience that allows here for the crisp playing. Both this and the initial Naxos release…are well worth picking up and are simply great releases.
M. Steve, Cinemusical, St. Paul, Minnesota


Respect and admiration (Zádor vol. 2 CD - Naxos)
These works have a 20th century flair of richness and formality, yet they teeter with melodic and atonal edging. Zádor’s Studies for Orchestra is comprised of eight separate musical dialogues. The sections are so varied that it almost translates into a modernistic Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition. Portions are frequently acrid, but at the same time, they demonstrate Eugene Zádor’s fascinating exercise into what the human mind can create using a potpourri of instruments and unexpected techniques. The Budapest Symphony Orchestra MÁV, under the direction of Mariusz Smolij, handles Eugene Zádor’s music with respect and admiration. 
Christie Grimstad, ConcertoNet.com, Paris, France


Superior evocative features (Bloch CD – Naxos)
The orchestral version presented here by conductor Smolij has superior evocative features, and the performers must be credited with having grasped the exotic character of Bloch’s inspiration, far exceeding the previous records known to me.
Ricardo Cassini, Mondadori, Rome, Italy


An excellent disc (Bloch CD – Naxos)
Bloch’s Viola Suite, Chinese finale and all, is arguably the best work for viola and orchestra in the repertoire. It is melodically haunting, emotionally wide-ranging, thematically integrated—despite being called a “suite” it’s really a full-blown four-movement symphony—and gorgeously scored. This performance, by superb viola soloist Hong-Mei Xiao, is as fine as any on disc. Kudos also to Mariusz Smolij and the Budapest players who accompany with evident sympathy and who, assisted in no small degree by Naxos’ engineers, keep the orchestral parts clear and well-balanced. An excellent disc.
David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com, Portland, Maine, USA


Rousing performance (Zádor vol. 2 CD - Naxos)
Polish conductor Mariusz Smolij elicits rousing performances from the Budapest MÁV Symphony Orchestra that turn what might otherwise come off as ordinary fare into a memorable listening experience. Lush strings, mellow woodwinds and lusty brass characterize an ensemble where all the soloists are virtuosos in their own right.
Bob McQuiston, Classical Lost and Found, USA


Superb homage (Zádor vol. 3 CD - Naxos)
This is up to now the nicest program in Smolij’s Zador series, comprising a suite of fanciful variations and the Third Symphony which is a superb homage to the Viennese dances.
Remy Franck, Pizzicato, Luxemburg


Remarkable performance (Zádor vol. 4 CD - Naxos)
The Fugue Fantasia has superb structure from start to finish. Contrasting episodes between melodic and counterpoint lines lead us to a majestic ending. (Composer’s) own brand of neo-romanticism and nationalism in Rhapsody is mastery cited with the orchestral palette, which is well presented in a remarkable performance.
Luis Suárez, Ritmo Magazine, Madrid, Spain


Five Stars – excellent recording quality (Zádor vol. 5 CD - Naxos)
The title piece, “The Plains of Hungary” forms a center of musical journey through Hungarian lowlands, around 80 minutes of calm and tonal beauty, masterly orchestrated. The outstanding strings and winds of the orchestra are responsible for the beautiful symphonic coherence. The excellent orchestra presents symphonic music by Eugene Zador in excellent recording quality.
Hans Acermann, Kulturradio vom rbb, Germany


Superb (Zádor vol. 6 CD - Naxos)
This is the sixth volume in Naxos’s survey of the Hungarian composer, Eugene Zador, who fled from his native country at the onset of the Second World War. The Budapest Symphony, directed by Polish conductor, Mariusz Smolij, play as if their lives depended on it. The sound quality is superb.
David Denton, David’s Review Corner, U.K.