studied conducting, theory and composition at Warsaw’s Music Academy, graduating in 1975, when he made his conducting debut at the Grand Theatre – National Opera in Warsaw in a new production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. In 1976 he was appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf, and a year later, he won the 3rd Prize at the prestigious Herbert von Karajan Competition in Berlin, resulting in his debuts with the Berlin and New York Philharmonic Orchestras. In 1978 he became Principal Guest Conductor, and two years later Music Director of the Polish Radio Great Symphony Orchestra in Katowice (currently Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra), with whom he toured extensively throughout Europe.
In 1982, he moved to London where he made his debut with the Philharmonia Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall. In 1983, he made numerous tournées with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and worked with the Capital Radio’s Wren Orchestra becoming its first conductor. He performed regularly with British orchestras including the Philharmonia, London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, Halle, Royal Scottish National, BBS Scottish and BBC National Orchestra of Wales with which he appeared in 1984 at the BBC Proms. He has conducted many renowned orchestras in Europe, the USA and Asia, including Vienna Symphony, La Scala, Bavaria Radio, Berlin Radio Symphony, Orchestre de Paris, Orquesta Nacional de España, National Symphony Orchestra in Dublin, Cincinnati Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Calgary Symphony, Winnipeg Symphony, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony, Tokyo Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, New Zealand Symphony, Chamber Orchestra of Europe (with which he toured Australia), as well as philharmonic orchestras in Oslo, Stockholm, Rotterdam and Prague. Between 1991 and 1995, he was the first conductor and music consultant of the Nord Nederland Orkest. In 1992, he was the main visiting conductor of the English Sinfonia. In 1993, his interpretation of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 in Athens, performed with the Athens Symphonic Orchestra and London Symphony Chorus, won wide recognition.
In 1998 Jacek Kaspszyk was appointed Artistic and Music Director of the Grand Theatre – National Opera in Warsaw. There, he prepared new stagings of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle and The Miraculous Mandarin, Szymanowski’s King Roger, Penderecki’s Ubu Rex, Berlioz’s La damnation de Faust, Richard Strauss’ Salome and Berg’s Wozzeck. He has taken the Grand Theatre to the Beijing Festival, Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre, Sadler’s Wells, Hong Kong Arts Festival and the Festival Castell de Peralada in Spain, and has made three tours of Japan. Apart from his work in Warsaw, Jacek Kaspszyk is prized as an opera conductor worldwide, and has worked with the English National Opera, Leeds’ Opera North Leeds, Düsseldorf’s Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Paris’ Opéra Comique, Seville’s Teatro de la Maestranza, Buenos Aires’ Teatro Colón, and the opera theatres of Lyon, Bordeaux, Zurich, and Stockholm. Between 2006 and 2008 he regularly worked with the Lithuanian National Opera, appearing notably at the festivals of Ljubljana, Ravenna and Tel Aviv.
His staging of Szymanowski’s King Roger at the Grand Theatre – National Opera was chosen to inaugurate the Polish presidency in the European Union in July 2011, within the special “I, Culture” programme. Another landmark event was Jacek Kaspszyk’s appearance with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment at the Chopin and His Europe Festival in Warsaw.
In 2011 he received the prestigious Elgar Medal, in recognition of his many fine performances of Elgar’s works over the years, joining distinguished colleagues such as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Andrew Litton and Leonard Slatkin.
Since 2006, Jacek Kaspszyk has been the artistic director at the Wrocław Philharmonic Orchestra, and in 2009–12 was musical director of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice.
Recent symphonic engagements range from his return to Vienna Symphony Orchestra at the 2012 Bregenz Festival, concerts with Sinfonia Varsovia at La Roque d’Anthéron, and the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana at the Lugano Festival. He enjoyed a return to the USA with his own orchestra, NFM Wrocław Philharmonic and pianist Garrick Ohlsson, recently completing a successful coast-to-coast tour, presenting programmes that included Szymanowski, Dvořák, Brahms and Chopin, with Bernstein’s Candide Overture proving equally popular with audiences. Jacek Kaspszyk conducts regularly in the Far East: he has opened the 2011/12 season with the China Philharmonic and Guangzhou Symphony Orchestras as well as making his debut with the Malaysia Philharmonic Orchestra and pianist Stephen Kovacevich. In 2012/13 he returned to the Malaysian Philharmonic following his successful debut and made his debut with the KBS Symphony in Seoul. Other season highlights include Opera North for concerts in the UK, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, China Philharmonic, Lugano Festival and an extensive tour of the UK with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Jacek Kaspszyk is widely represented on CD, including an award-winning recording of Rossini’s Il Signor Bruschino with the Polish Chamber Opera and the Edison Prize-awarded recording of Baird’s Concerto lugubre with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, as well as several acclaimed recordings for Collins Classics with all four London orchestras, including Mussorgsky’s Pictures from an Exhibition, Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, and Richard Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra (London Symphony), Rachmaninov’s Symphony No. 2 and Verdi’s opera overtures (Philharmonia), works by Johann Strauss and Schubert’s Symphonies No. 5 and 8 (LPO) and Puccini’s Interludes (Royal Philharmonic). He enjoys a regular collaboration with Martha Argerich, conducting at the annual Progetto Martha Argerich Festival in Lugano; Kaspszyk and Argerich feature together on a 2010 EMI Classics Chopin CD.
His recording of Lutosławski’s Symphonies No. 2 & 4 with the NFM Wrocław Philharmonic received the 2011 Fryderyk Award for Album of the Year, Symphonic and Concert Music; the album was hailed as “an important and magnificent release that gives us the best sound the composer has ever had”. He recently recorded Beethoven’s Piano Concertos with pianist Ingrid Jacoby (first released in November 2012). Recordings with the Polish Grand Theatre – National Opera include Moniuszko’s The Haunted Manor (EMI Classics) awarded with a Platinum Disc, Penderecki’s Ubu Rex (CD Accord) and Szymanowski’s King Roger (CD Accord), which was nominated for Record of the Year by “BBC Music Magazine” and highly praised by critics who notably wrote of Kaspszyk: “in all, even the tiniest details, he managed to achieve absolutely everything”.
On 1st September 2013, Jacek Kaspszyk became Artistic Director of the Warsaw Philharmonic.