Peter Ruzicka was born July 3, 1948 in Düsseldorf. From 1963 to 1968 he received an instrumental and theoretical education at the Hamburg Music Conservatorium (piano, oboe, composition theory). He then went on to complete his composition studies under Hans Werner Henze and Hans Otte. He studied Law and Musicology in Munich, Hamburg, and Berlin and graduated in 1977 with an interdisciplinary dissertation on “permanent moral rights.”
He received numerous prizes and awards for his compositions (incl. City of Stuttgart prize, Unesco prize "International Rostrum of Composers, Paris, Bach prize scholarship of the Free, and Hanseatic City of Hamburg). Peter Ruzicka's pieces were played by leading orchestras and ensembles, such as the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, all German radio symphony orchestras, the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, Philharmonia Orchestra London, Orchestre Philharmonique de Paris, Czech Philharmonic, RSO Vienna, and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductors such as Gerd Albrecht, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Semyon Bychkov, Riccardo Chailly, Christoph Eschenbach, Michael Gielen, Eliahu Inbal, Kurt Masur, Giuseppe Sinopoli, and Christian Thielemann were great supporters of his music. His opera CELAN was performed for the first time in 2001 at the Semper Opera in Dresden.
Peter Ruzicka has been a professor at the Hamburg College of Music and Theater since 1990. The composer is a member of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts and the Free Academy of Arts, Hamburg.
From 1979 – 1987, Peter Ruzicka was active as a director with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra. From 1988 – 1997 he was a director at the Hamburg State Opera and the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra. In 1996, he succeeded Hans Werner Henzes as the artistic manager of the Munich Biennial and also became artistic consultant for the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam in 1997. He was made president of the Bavarian Theatre Academy in 1999. In October 2001, Ruzicka became artistic manager for the Salzburg Festival.
As a conductor of both his own work and the work of other musicians, Peter Ruzicka managed the German Symphony Orchestra Berlin (where he also made CD productions of pieces by Mahler, Pettersson and Schreker), the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra, the NDR Symphony Orchestra (where he recorded a CD cycle of 12 orchestra pieces by Hans Werner Henze), the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, the RSO Stuttgart, the SWR Baden-Baden and Freiburg Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Orchester, Cologne, the Stuttgart State Orchestra, the RSO Frankfurt, the MDR Symphony Orchestra Leipzig, the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestra of the German Opera Berlin, the Czech Philharmonic, the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, and the RSO Vienna.