Born in Leverkusen in 1944, Höller studied composition in Cologne with B. A. Zimmermann and Herbert Eimert, and piano with Alfons Kontarsky, as well as music education and musicology. He received important impulses from Karlheinz Stockhausen and Pierre Boulez, having frequently worked at Boulez’s IRCAM institute in Paris. His oeuvre encompasses an opera (The Master and Margarita, premiered in 1989 in Paris), orchestral works, chamber and piano music, as well as electronic and live-electronic compositions. From 1990 to 1999 he was artistic director of the Studio for Electronic Music of the West German Radio (WDR), and is currently Professor of Composition at the Cologne College of Music.
York Höller attained international fame as a result of numerous performances throughout Europe and in the USA and a number of CD releases of his works, and not least with his orchestral work Aufbruch (departure), which was composed as a commission from the German parliament on the occasion of its departure from Bonn.