Born at Ubiel in the Minsk district, Stanisław Moniuszko moved with his family to Warsaw in 1827. He had his schooling again in Minsk, going on to further musical study in Berlin. In 1840 he took a position as organist in Vilnius, where his literary connections stimulated his interest in vocal writing and opera. In 1859 he moved to Warsaw, where he became conductor of the opera.
Moniuszko won recognition as the leading composer of Polish opera, an enterprise in which he had encouragement from the Russian composers Glinka and Dargomizhsky, and from his former pupil César Cui. He also wrote operettas, and ballet and incidental music.