He studied piano and conducting at the conservatoires of Cologne and Düsseldorf. As a pianist he won several international chamber music competitions and performed regularly as a concert soloist before concentrating exclusively on conducting. After attending masterclasses with Leonard Bernstein, Sergiu Celibidache, and John Eliot Gardiner and working as a répétiteur and principal conductor at several theatres (Brussels's Théâtre de la Monnaie, Basel, and Lübeck), he worked with leading symphony orchestras in Germany and abroad. His repertoire includes works from the early classical period to the modern era. In 1997-2007 Rüdiger Bohn was the artistic director of the Contemporary Opera in Berlin. With this activity he extended his interests to contemporary music. Prestigious ensembles such as the Klangforum Wien, Collegium Novum Zürich, and the Österreichisches Ensemble für Neue Musik invited him as a guest conductor. Since 2009 he works closely with the Ensemble Musikfabrik in Cologne. He has led orchestras at many national and international festivals, including Salzburg, the Summer Courses in Darmstadt, Munich Biennale, and Warsaw Autumn. He has always been passionate about cooperating with composers, including Beat Furrer, Toshio Hosokawa, Isabel Mundry, Wolfgang Rihm, José María Sánchez-Verdú, and Hans Zender. He has appeared regularly with leading ensembles and orchestras in South Korea (notably at the Tongyeong Festival, Seoul Philharmonic, and Seongnam Philharmonic) and Japan (Next Mushroom Promotion Ensemble, Takefu Festival).
Since 2003 Rüdiger Bohn is the artistic director of the European Workshop for Contemporary Music. He is a professor of conducting at the Robert Schumann High School of Music in Düsseldorf.