Stephan Winkler was born 1967 in Görlitz, East-Germany. He studied composition and violoncello from 1985-1991 at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin. In 1990 he founded ECHO — the first ensemble for contemporary music at that institution – which he directed until 1999.
Since 1991 he has been working as a composer and teacher at Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin and Musikschule Berlin-Kreuzberg. He is also a regular conductor of Berlin’s main contemporary music ensembles. Winkler taught composition as a guest professor at the Universität Mozarteum Salzburg during the 2015-16 academic year and currently teaches music theory and composition at the Barenboim-Said Akademie.
In 1991, Winkler received travel scholarships to Vienna, Venice, London and Paris from Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart. He lived in New York City from 1994-1995, and held a residency at Princeton University with a Postgraduate Scholarship of Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst (DAAD). In 1999-2000 he was a resident at Cité International des Arts in Paris.
In 2000, he co-founded SKART with fellow composer Michael Beil, producing a number of audiovisual concert concepts in exceptional locations, including the German Foreign Ministry, the FIFA football globe (after Buckminster Fuller) and the Brandenburg Gate. During 2008, he was resident at the German Academy Villa Massimo in Rome, Italy, and in 2010, Artist in Residence at the Goethe Institute in Prague, Czech Republic.
Winkler has written an opera (which premiered in 2014), four works for large orchestra (one of which includes a children’s choir), a number of chamber music pieces (many of which include electro-acoustic parts and video), a small music theatre work for children, and has also made contributions to other genres.
He released his first CD in 1998 with writer and performer Max Goldt. In 2005 a DualDisc (CD/DVD) with lavish sound productions of three of his major chamber music works was released by WERGO/Schott.