He studied under Ferdinand Laub and Jan Hřímalý at the Moscow Conservatory, where he also attended Tchaikovsky's composition class in 1875–76. From 1885 he was a professor (and director from 1910 to 1919) of the Warsaw Academy of Music. From 1893 he was also director of the Warsaw Opera-House (Teatr wielki) where he had previously been the orchestra's concertmaster.
Tchaikovsky heard Barcewicz play Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto, under Nikolay Rubinstein's direction, at a Russian Musical Society concert in Moscow on 25 January/6 February 1875. In his capacity as music critic for the Russian Register, Tchaikovsky wrote:
The hero of the evening was Mr Barcewicz, a young man aged just 17, who played for us Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto with the aplomb, confidence, fire, and strength of a seasoned virtuoso. If at any point during his performance we were reminded of this talented virtuoso's incredibly young age, that was only in the Andante, where Mr Barcewicz did not show sufficient breadth of tone, majestic calm, and self-command. The first movement and the Finale, on the other hand, he performed not merely faultlessly, but with real brilliancy, precision, and heartfelt inspiration. The audience welcomed this young virtuoso with great warmth, for he really does show tremendous promise and deserves every possible encouragement.
Barcewicz later participated in several notable performances of Tchaikovsky's works:
- 8/20 September 1878 in Paris - as soloist in the world premieres of the Sérénade mélancolique, Op. 26 and Valse-Scherzo, Op. 34, at the third Russian concert of the Paris Exposition, conducted by Nikolay Rubinstein
- 1/13 December 1879 in Moscow - as soloist in the first performance in Russia of the Valse-Scherzo, Op. 34, at the fifth symphony concert of the Russian Musical Society, conducted by Nikolay Rubinstein
- 27 December 1882/8 January 1883 in Saint Petersburg - with Sergey Taneyev (piano) and Aleksandr Verzhbilovich (cello), in the first performance in that city of Tchaikovsky's Piano Trio, Op. 50
- 2/14 January 1892 in Warsaw - soloist in the Sérénade mélancolique, Op. 26, and Violin Concerto, Op. 34, conducted by Tchaikovsky. "Barcewicz played my concerto with extraordinary brilliance", the composer wrote afterwards .