Birke J. Bertelsmeier was born in Hilden. She received piano lessons from BarbaraSzczepanska, composition lessons from David Graham and studied piano with Pavel Gililov at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln (Diploma 2005). Afterwards she took up studies with Wolfgang Rihm at the Karlsruhe University of Music (diploma 2008, concert exam 2011). In addition, she completed her studies in musicology with a master's degree in 2009. She was a scholarship holder of the International Ensemble Modern Academy, the Akademie Musiktheater heute, the Edenkoben Manor, the Ircam in Paris, the Villa Concordia in Bamberg and in 2013 the Villa Massimo in Rome. In 2015 she was awarded the Composer Promotion Prize of the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation.
Birke J. Bertelsmeier's extensive catalog of works includes music theater and film music as well as orchestral works, chamber music and solo pieces. She has received several awards for her compositions, including the Karlsruhe Composition Prize, the Yvar Mikhashoﬀ Trust for New Music New York Prize and the Schneider-Schott Music Prize in 2012. She has received commissions from the Heidelberger Frühling Festival, the Munich Biennale, the Beijing International Music Competition, the Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Darmstadt Summer Courses, among others. Her works have been performed at international festivals and by renowned interpreters such as Tabea Zimmermann, Christoph Eschenbach, the Arditti Quartet, Quatuor Diotima, Ensemble Modern and members of the Berlin Philharmonic. In 2014, two music theater works - Querelle after Jean Genet and The Rose and the Nightingale after Oscar Wilde - were performed at the Deutsche Oper Berlin at Auﬀührung.
Birke J. Bertelsmeier taught composition in youth seminars of the Beethoven-Haus Bonn and the Musikrat NRW. She taught at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hannover as a scholarship holder of the Dorothea Erxleben Program.