Józef Swider was born in Czechowice (Upper Silesia, Poland) in 1930. He studied piano, music theory and composition at the Conservatory of Music in Katowice and with Goffredo Petrassi in Rome as a stipendiary at the Accademia Santa Cecilia. Swider maintained his ties with the Katowice High School (later Music Academy) for over 40 years as a professor of composition, counterpoint and harmony, as well as Deputy Rector and long-serving Dean of the faculty for composition and music theory. In addition he was a professor on the Cieszyn campus of the Silesian University of Katowice, where he directed the Institute of Music Education for 15 years. Swider is actively involved in the Polish choral association as a composer, adviser and adjudicator at choral competitions.