Peter Ruzicka was born in Düsseldorf on 3 July 1948. From 1963 to 1968 he received his early musical training (piano, oboe and composition) at the Hamburg Conservatory. After passing his Abitur examinations, he studied law and musicology in Munich, Hamburg and Berlin until 1976 (doctoral thesis: Berlin, 1977).
His compositions have been awarded numerous prizes. In 1969 he received a City of Stuttgart award for the cantata “Esta Noche” and in 1970 a prize at the Bartók Competition, Budapest, for the string quartet „… fragment …”. In 1971 he received an award for an orchestral work, „Metastrofe”, at the International Ros-trum of Composers in Paris, and in 1972 for “In processo di tempo…” at the International Gaudeamus Competition. In 1972 he was awarded the Bach Prize scholarship of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg.
Peter Ruzicka has been appointed professor at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg in 1990. The composer is member of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts in Munich and of the Free Academy of Arts in Hamburg.
Peter Ruzicka has been intendant of the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1979 to 1987 and director of the Hamburg State Opera and the State Philharmonic Orchestra from 1988 to 1997. Moreover, he became Artistic Advisor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam in 1997. In 1999 he was named President of the Bavarian Theatre Academy, and from 2001 to 2006 he took over the Artistic Directorship of the Salzburg Festival. At present he is artistic director of the Munich Biennale which he took over from Hans Werner Henze in 1996.
As a conductor of his own and other works, Peter Ruzicka has directed the German Symphony Orchestra in Berlin – recording CD productions of works by Mahler, Pettersson and Schreker – Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, the Symphony Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio, the NDR Symphony Orchestra Hamburg – recording a cycle of twelve orchestral works by Hans Werner Henze –, the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, the Radio Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart, the SWR Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden and Freiburg, the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, the Radio Symphony Orchestra Frankfurt, the MDR Symphony Orchestra Leipzig, the Munich Philharmonic, the Orchestra of the German Opera Berlin, the Danish National Orchestra, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, and the Radio Orchestra Vienna, amongst others.