He was born in Michle and studied at the conservatory in Prague with Otakar Sevcík. His toured as a soloist from 1898, soon became renowned for his great virtuosity, and continued to play internationally until his death. He made a number of recordings, and also wrote music, including six violin concertos. He died in Prague.
Kubelík was featured in a short eponymous poem by Carl Sandburg (published in Chicago Poems, 1916).
Jan Kubelík was the father of the conductor Rafael Kubelík.