Graduate of Warsaw’s State High School of Music in the tuba class of Juliusz Pietrachowicz. After receiving an award in 1970 at the National Festival of Young Musicians in Gdańsk, he began his career as a soloist. Shortly afterwards he gave very succesful recitals at home and abroad, during festivals and summer courses in Bayreuth, Witten, Darmstadt, Bourges, Stockholm and Los Angeles.
He is the first tubist in Poland to have introduced frullato, flageolets, glissandi, chords and the so-called cleansing sounds into his tuba-playing. He also initiated sonoristic experiments with prepared tuba.
Zdzisław Piernik is an avid interpreter of contemporary music. He has worked closely with many composers, demonstrating the potential of the natural and prepared tuba. Among composers who have dedicated their works to him include Benno Ammann, Zbigniew Bargielski, Andrzej Bieżan, Marian Borkowski, Andrzej Dobrowolski, Roman Haubenstock-Ramati, Wojciech Kilar, Krzysztof Knittel, Andrzej Krzanowski, Krzysztof Penderecki, Bogusław Schaeffer, Elżbieta Sikora and Witold Szalonek. His concerts, recordings and programmes for Polish Radio and Television have popularised the tuba as a solo instrument.