Peter Ruzicka was born in Duesseldorf on July 3, 1948. He received his early musical training (piano, oboe and composition) at the Hamburg Conservatory. Studies in composition with Hans Werner Henze and Hans Otte. He studied law and musicology in Munich, Hamburg and Berlin (doctoral thesis: Berlin, 1977). The list of his compositions includes numerous orchestral and chamber works as well as the opera „Celan", which was premiered in Dresden in 2001. His opera "Hoelderlin" was premiered at the Berlin State Opera in 2008.
Peter Ruzicka was appointed professor at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg in 1990. The composer is a member of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts in Munich and of the Free Academy of Arts in Hamburg.
Peter Ruzicka's works were performed by leading international orchestras and ensembles like the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio Munich, German Symphony Orchestra Berlin, NDR Symphony Orchestra, Dresden Staatskapelle, Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, Philharmonia Orchestra London, Philharmonic Orchestra de Paris, Czech Philharmony, Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra Montréal and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductors like Gerd Albrecht, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Semyon Bychkov, Riccardo Chailly, Christoph Eschenbach, Michael Gielen, Paavo Järvi, Mariss Jansons, Kurt Masur, Antonio Pappano, Giuseppe Sinopoli and Christian Thielemann have performed his works.
Peter Ruzicka was artistic director 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 was Artistic Advisor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam from 1997 to 1999. In 1999 he was named President of the Bavarian Theatre Academy. From 2001 to 2006, Ruzicka took over the Artistic Directorship of the Salzburg Festival. Until 2014 he was artistic director of the Munich Biennale having succeeded Hans Werner Henze in 1996. From 2015 he will serve as intendant of the Salzburg Easter Festival.
As a conductor of his own and other works, Peter Ruzicka has directed the German Symphony Orchestra in Berlin - recording CDs of music by Mahler, Pettersson and Schreker - the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, the Symphony Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio, the NDR Symphony Orchestra Hamburg - recording a cycle of 12 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 Vienna Symphony Orchestra, the Danish National Orchestra, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and the China Philharmonic Orchestra among others.