Born in Lvov on 21 December 1937, son of a professor of geophysics at the Jan Kazimierz University. He and his family repatriated to Cracow in 1945.
He began to take piano lessons when he was six and began to learn to play the cello when he was twelve. His first teacher was Józef Makowicz, concertmaster of the Cracow Philharmonic.
Andrzej Orkisz studied the cello under Dr Jerzy Strzemieński at the State Secondary Music School from which he graduated with honours in 1955. He finished the State College of Music in Cracow in 1960 (also with honours), where he continued his cello studies under Professor Józef Mikulski, then went to Paris where he worked under the supervision of Paul Tortelier, the world-famous virtuoso and professor of the Paris Conservatory (1961).
Andrzej Orkisz began his career as a soloist and chamber orchestra player when he was still a student. He debuted in 1959 with the Cracow Philharmonic: he played L. Boccherini's concerto (conductor: Witold Krzemiński). As a soloist, chamber orchestra player and concertmaster of the National Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra in Warsaw (1962-1972) he performed in nearly the whole of Europe and also in the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, former USSR, the Near and Far East and Egypt.
He made many recordings in Europe and both Americas in 1969-1985 with the Warsaw Quintet, founded by Bronisław Gimpel and Władysław Szpilman.
Andrzej Orkisz has also made many recordings alone and with his wife Anna with whom he once formed a cello duet. He has also recorded with Władysław Szpilman, Andrzej Ratusiński, Barbara Halska, Maja Nosowska and the Polish Radio Orchestra in Warsaw under Ryszard Dudek. Finally, he has recorded for television.
He was a founding member of the National Philharmonic Chamber Ensemble under Karol Teutsch with which he also played as a soloist in Germany and Austria.
He has played under many leading Polish and foreign conductors and has also met on stage with such outstanding artists as M. Argerich, C. Arrau, A. Brailowski, G. Cassado, Z. Francescati, E. Gilels, B. Gimpel, E. Istomin, W. Małcużyński, M. Pollini, J. P. Rampal, S. Richter, L. Rose, M. Rostropovitch, A. Rubinstein, I. Stern, I. Stravinsky, D. Szafran, H. Szeryng and others.
Andrzej Orkisz began to teach in Cracow alongside Professor J. Mukulski. He began to work at the State College of Music in Warsaw in 1969, first as lecturer and then, on completing his certification procedure in 1974, as assistant professor. In 1980-1982 he also co-operated with the Music Academy in Cracow. In 1984-1992 he was professor at the Henri Duparc Conservatory in Tarbes (France). On returning to Poland he affiliated with the Music Academy in Łódź (1992) where he was given the title of professor in 1994. He returned to the Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw in 1997.
He has also taught at the K. Szymanowski Music High School in Warsaw and (as of 1992 to this day) at the Music School Complex no. 1 in Warsaw. He has educated about 40 graduates including Tadeusz Wojciechowski, Roman Hoffman (Camerata Quartet and AMFC Białystok Branch), Bożena Sławińska (Mexico), Risto Pouetanen (Finland) and Rafał Kwiatkowski. Many of his pupils and students have won competitions in Poland and abroad, as independent artists. Andrzej Orkisz has sat on the jury of competitions in Poland and other countries. He has led courses in interpretation in Łańcut, Gdańsk, Zakopane, Kołobrzeg, Bordeaux, Mont de Marsan (France) and also in Mexico.
He has edited many works for the cello published by PWN, Triangiel and Dambit.
He has won many prizes and awards of distinction in Poland and abroad.