Szpakiewicz gained rapid recognition in the United States when he won the 16th Mu Phi Epsilon International Competition in 2003. His work, as a soloist with various orchestras in Europe and in the United States, has drawn praise from critics, who have described him as “a gifted player,” “with expansive vision and immense authority,” and “no technical limitation.” Polish and American radio stations have broadcasted his live performances, including the one-hour special program dedicated solely to his music on KUSC-Los Angeles, the largest non-profit classical music station in the country. Strad Magazine comments on Szpakiewicz’s live recording of Ernest Bloch’s Schelomo as “remarkably accurate realisation of the score.”
He began cello lessons at the age of six in Lublin, Poland. In his early years, he studied with Ryszard Losakiewicz and Stanislaw Firlej. He later studied with Stephen Kates at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore. Szpakiewicz completed his doctorate degree under the tutelage of late Eleonore Schoenfeld at the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California. He also studied with such distinguished cellists as Daniil Shafran, Lynn Harrell, and Siegfried Palm. He currently teaches at Azusa Pacific University.
Szpakiewicz has also contributed his talent to film orchestration as a collaborator with Polish composer Jan A.P. Kaczmarek. Their score, for the critically acclaimed movie “Finding Neverland,” received the 77th Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2005.
In March 2008, Szpakiewicz earned permanent residency from the U.S. government as an “Extraordinary Ability Artist.” The title means that he has “sustained national or international acclaim and the achievements have been recognized” in his field, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.