Johannes Kalitzke is a composer and conductor who was born in Cologne in 1959. After studying piano with Jeanette Chéro (1967–77) and church music in Cologne (1974–76), he enrolled at Cologne University of Music (1978–81), where his teachers were Aloys Kontarsky (piano), Wolfgang von der Nahmer (conducting), York Höller (composition), and later Ulrich Humpert (electronic music). This was followed by studies abroad with Vinko Globokar at IRCAM in Paris on a scholarship from the Study Foundation of the German People (1982/83).
From 1984 to 1990 he worked at “Musiktheater im Revier” in Gelsenkirchen, first as a conductor and later as principal conductor.
In 1986 he succeeded Carla Henius as director of the New Music Forum, and in 1991 he became artistic director and conductor of musikFabrik.
Since 1996 he has taught at the Darmstadt Summer Courses and headed conducting seminars at various institutes of higher learning, including the Conductors Forum of the German Music Council.
Today he is a regular guest conductor and composer with orchestras and ensembles at international festivals of contemporary music.
Kalitzke’s first opera, Bericht über den Tod des Musikers Jack Tiergarten(Report on the Death of the Musician Jack Teagarden), was premiered at the Munich Biennale in 1996.
He was then commissioned by the state of Schleswig-Holstein to write his second opera, Molière oder die Henker der Komödianten (Molière or the Players’ Executioners), premiered in Bremen in 1998, as well as Inferno (2004).
In 2007 he was commissioned to compose Die Besessenen (The Possessed) after Witold Gombrowicz for Vienna’s Theater an der Wien, where it received its premiere on 19 February 2010.
Today he is a freelance artist living in Cologne and Vienna.