German conductor Bernhard Kontarsky was born in Iserlohn on 26 April 1937. He studied at the Hochschule für Musik Köln and began his conducting career as Kapellmeister at the Staatstheater Stuttgart.
Kontarsky is a new music specialist, and has conducted first performances of music by Hans Werner Henze, Mauricio Kagel, Hans Zender and Eckehard Mayer.
Since 1981 he has been professor of orchestral conducting at the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts.
He has also occasionally appeared as a pianist in a three-piano ensemble with his elder brothers Aloys Kontarsky and Alfons Kontarsky.