Bernhard Klee was born in Schleiz/Thuringia and grew up in Jena and Leipzig. He studied piano, composition and conducting at the State Academy of Music in Cologne and completed his training as an assistant of Otto Ackermann and Wolfgang Sawallisch.
He has been music director of several German orchestras, including Lübeck, Dusseldorf and the North German Radio Orchestra in Hannover. He began a second appointment in this position as of the 91/92 season.
Bernhard Klee has conducted many major orchestras in Germany and abroad. In Europe these include all the leading London orchestras, the orchestra of Santa Cecilia and the orchestras of the RAI in Italy, the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonic as well as the other major orchestras of these cities, the Stockholm and Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Orchestre National and the Orchestre Philharmonique of Radio France, the Radio Kammerorkest Hilversum, in Japan the NHK and the Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestras; and in the USA the orchestras in Cleveland, Chicago, San Francisco and New York.
As a young man, Bernhard Klee was very active as an opera conductor; more recently he has appeared at major opera houses such as Munich, Covent Garden and Hamburg. In addition he has appeared in many international festivals including the Edinburgh, Holland, Flanders, Salzburg, Helsinki, Berlin and Lucerne Festivals.
In Germany Bernhard Klee had different positions as a chief conductor, so in Lübeck, Dusseldorf and Hannover. In Hannover he was chief conductor of the Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1991 until 1995.
Bernhard Klee has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, EMI and Philips.