Slovenian Youth Orchestra

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The Slovenian Youth Orchestra (SMO) is a project of cooperation, enthusiasm and a vision for the future that connects the whole of Slovenia. It gives our most promising musicians, aged 16 to 26, the opportunity to achieve their greatest results and to build musical, cultural, and social bridges with drive, determination, courage and will.

The orchestra's projects bridge the gap between formal education, which focuses on technique and theory, and the realities of the profession. It is the only project of its kind in Slovenia that gives young musicians a first-hand experience of all aspects of life as a professional musician - from auditioning to selecting projects, rehearsing, and performing on the most prestigious stages. It is a time and place for young people to develop their talents full, while learning the diversity of their musical and personal paths. SMO is a platform for young musicians studying abroad to return to their home country and maintain contact with their home environment. New members are invited to join the orchestra every year. In multi-day residencies with leading professional orchestral musicians, these outstanding young participants prepare a programme which they then present in concerts, while also acting as dynamic musical ambassadors.

Founded in 2019 in collaboration with international and local partners, we believe that SMO will become a cultural representative that will be able to stand alongside all the most prominent youth orchestras from most EU countries, as well as from around the world, that have been active for decades. The domestic and international collaborations to date have proved that we are on the right track. The orchestra was accepted as a full member of the European Federation of National Youth Orchestras (EFNYO) in June 2022. We look forward to working more closely with other youth national orchestras, to participating in local and European projects and to being placed on the European map of youth musical excellence.

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Živa Ploj Peršuh

Živa Ploj Peršuh is a conductor with a wide symphonic and operatic repertoire. She has conducted the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra, the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra, the Maribor Symphony Orchestra, the Ljubljana Opera and Ballet Orchestra and became a regular conductor of the Ljubljana Opera and Ballet Orchestra. She has conducted with great success at the Verdi Theatre in Trieste and the Brno Philharmonic.

While studying in Mannheim, she founded the Festine Symphony and Chamber Orchestra in Slovenia, which brought professional musicians together with students. She is the founder and artistic director of the Slovenian Youth Orchestra, the Ljubljana International Orchestra, the BSA Academy and the Triple Bridge European Career Centre for Artists. Many of her projects are aimed at promoting Slovenia abroad and, conversely, at projects in Slovenia that involve young people from all over the world. She has conducted in fourteen European countries and Egypt, and has participated in music projects and festivals in Ljubljana, Mannheim, Belgrade and the Lucerne Festival.


Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, is a hidden gem for young musicians looking for inspiration and opportunities. With a thriving music scene spanning a variety of genres, the city invites participation and talent development throughout the year with international concerts, festivals and live performances. Thanks to its small size, safety, green environment and excellent connectivity, Ljubljana is easy to explore and allows musicians to make the most of their experience.

Its pedestrian-friendly streets, surrounded by charming cafés, galleries and historical sites, offer an inspiring environment for creativity. The city reflects a rich cultural tapestry in its museums, galleries, theatres and concert halls, showcasing traditional and contemporary art. With its youthful energy and progressive mindset, Ljubljana offers an inclusive and open environment for all musicians, from beginners to professionals, and encourages growth in a thriving artistic community.

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