Zygmunt Noskowski was born in Warsaw in 1846 and trained at the Warsaw Conservatoire, learning violin and composition. He spent a number of years in Germany, first studying in Berlin and later holding a number of conducting positions. After returning to Warsaw in 1880, he was appointed professor of composition at the Warsaw Conservatoire and conductor of the Warsaw Philharmonic.
During his lifetime Noskowski was successful not only as a composer, but also as a teacher and journalist. He taught the vast majority of the next generation of Polish composers, and helped to fashion a prominent Polish musical scene.