Born in 1939 in Langenthal, Switzerland, Heinz Holliger studied in Bern, Paris and Basel. His studies included the oboe with Emile Cassagnaud and Pierre Pierlot, the piano with Sava Savoff and Yvonne Lefébure, and composition with Sándor Veress and Pierre Boulez.
After winning first prize in both the Geneva and Munich International Competitions, he embarked on a prestigious career as an oboist. He performed on the world's most significant stages. As a result, many contemporary composers have dedicated their works to him, including Berio, Carter, Ligeti, Lutosławski, Messiaen and Penderecki.
As a conductor, he has led prestigious orchestras. Heinz has received numerous awards and distinctions, such as such as the Composers' Prize of the Swiss Association of Musicians or the Léonie-Sonnig Prize of the City of Copenhagen. In 2016, he was appointed Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2017 he was awarded by the Robert Schumann Prize of the city of Zwickaului and in 2022 he received the Schumann Prize of the German Academy of Sciences and Literature.
As a soloist, composer and conductor, Heinz Holliger has made multiple recordings for Teldec, Philips and ECM. Recent recordings include Schoeck's Elegy with Christian Gerhaher and the Basel Chamber Orchestra (Sony), the opera Lunea (ECM), "Bernd Alois Zimmermann - recomposed" (Wergo), as well as works by Schönberg and Webern with the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne (Fuga libera), which was awarded the CHOC de l'Année by Classica Magazine, as well as the Premio Abbiati della Critica discografica for the best recording of the year 2021.