Born in Prerov in the Czech Republic, he studied violin and conducting in his native country and then at the Kungliga Musikhögskolan Stockholm (The Royal College of Music, Stockholm). His First Prize at the Georg Solti International Competition opened doors to an international career. He was invited to the Prague Spring Festival and immediately afterwards to the Salzburger Festspiele (the Salzburg Festival) .
Since then, he has regularly conducted prestigious ensembles: the Wiener Symphoniker (the Vienna Symphony Orchestra), the Dresdner Philharmonie (the Dresden Philharmonic), the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestre National de France, the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, among others. He has also conducted Rusalka, Lohengrin, Die Walküre, Dame de Pique, Fidelio, Der Rosenkavalier, L'Affaire Makropoulos, and Orfeo.
An inspirational force in Czech and Slavic music, in particular, Tomáš Netopil is Principal Guest Conductor of the Česká filharmonie (the Czech Philharmonic) in Prague and Artistic Director of the Janáček Festival. In the 2022/2023 season, Netopil celebrates his tenth and final season as General Music Director of the Theater und Philharmonie Essen.
Reflecting his interest in transmission, in 2018, he founded the International Summer Music Academy in Kroměříž, which offers students exceptional teaching and opportunities with great artists. In the summer of 2021, in association with the Dvořák Festival in Prague, the Academy will establish the Dvořákova Praha Youth Philharmonic.