Pinhas Minkokwski was born in Belaya Tserkov, Ukraine, where his father officiated as a cantor. Minkowski studied the cantorial tradition with his father, and supplemented his basic musical education by joining the choir of Cantor Nissan Spivak. Minkowski took over Spivak’s post at the Choral Synagogue in Kishnev at the young age of eighteen. He traveled extensively, serving communities in Kherson, Lemberg, and Odessa, finally settling in New York to serve as the chief cantor at the Kahal Adas Yeshurun Synagogue. In 1892, Minkowski was invited back to Odessa to take office as the chief cantor at the Brody Synagogue, a position he held for over 30 years.
Minkowski was also deeply involved in Bialik’s intellectual movement in Odessa. He lectured at the Jewish Conservatory and was the chairman of the Ha-Zamir musical society, under whose auspices he published several articles on the topics of Jewish music and hazzanut. The majority of Minkowski’s compositions remain in manuscript form, and are preserved in the National Library of Israel on Hebrew University's Givat Ram campus in Jerusalem.