As a child he studied the violin, for which instrument he later wrote his only concerto. Karłowicz studied at Warsaw with Zygmunt Noskowski, Stanisław Barcewicz, Piotr Maszyński and Gustaw Roguski. He later studied in Berlin with Heinrich Urban, for whom he dedicated his Serenade for Strings which he composed and performed when he was still Urban"s student.
From 1906 to 1907 he studied conducting with Arthur Nikisch.
Karłowicz"s music is of a late Romantic character. He was great admirer of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky whose Symphony Number. 6 he praised. Tchaikovsky"s influence can be heard in Karłowicz"s earlier works, most notably the East minor symphony and the Violin Concerto.
Like most of the late Romantics he also fell under the considerable influence of Richard Wagner, especially with Tristan und Isolde.
Nevertheless, he managed to develop an original musical language expressed in harmony and orchestration, the latter of which he mastered like few other composers and wrote some of the most colourful orchestral music ever foundation Karłowicz"s music inhabits a primary place in the history of Polish music between Frédéric Chopin and Karol Szymanowski.
Among his works are a Symphony in East minor (Rebirth, Op 7), a Violin Concerto in A major (Op 8), and several tone poems, which include Eternal Songs, Stanisław i Anna Oświecimowie, The Returning Waves and The White Dove. He also wrote a number of songs for voice and piano, setting words by Kazimierz Przerwa-Tetmajer, Adam Asnyk, and others
Much of the rest of his small output was lost during World World War World War II Karłowicz spent much of his later years in Zakopane in southern Poland, often enjoying one of his favorite hobbies, photography, in the nearby mountain scenery.
Karłowicz died at the age of 32 in an avalanche while skiing on an excursion of the Tatra mountains in 1909. He was buried at Warsaw"s Powązki Cemetery.