Jan Kaznowski was born in Norfolk, the eldest of six musical children of a Polish refugee father who was an accomplished cellist and an English mother who played the piano. He got the chance to learn the violin at secondary school in Norfolk where his teacher was Alexander Kirk, a founder member of the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
The family later moved to Middlesbrough where there were many musical opportunities and he was given a scholarship for violin lessons in London. He studied with David Martin and later with Sidney Griller at the Royal Academy of Music and led several orchestras there as well as the Royal Academy Piano Trio. He pursued further studies later at the Warsaw Academy of Music.
Jan completed an Anthropology degree at Queens’ College Cambridge where he led the university orchestra and chamber orchestra and became the conductor of the St Margaret’s Society choir and assistant conductor of the university orchestra.
He spent 15 years as a member of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, English and Welsh National Opera orchestras as well as playing with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and being sub leader of the Royal Ballet before taking a music PGCE and moving to Bedford to work in the music service.
In Bedford he led the Sinfonia orchestra for 27 years as well as becoming head of the string department, deputy head of the music service and even for a short period, acting head of the music service before starting a process of retirement two years ago. He was conductor of the County Youth Second Orchestra for seven years, founded and has organised the county chamber music course and formed the North Beds Youth Chamber Orchestra twelve years ago.
He has been playing concerti regularly, many with the St Neots Sinfonia for all the years of its existence and there has performed works by Mendelssohn, Bruch, Dvorak, Saint-Saens, Beethoven and Mozart among others and has performed concerti elsewhere including the Elgar concerto and Brahms double concerto on several occasions.
He is playing a violin he made in the Cambridge Violin Making school founded by Juliet Beament and now run by her son Kit.