Ernst Märzendorfer was born in Oberndorf, Salzburg. He studied with Clemens Krauss at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, and became the first conductor of the Graz Opera in 1945. In 1951 and 1952 he was invited to the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, and from 1953 to 1958 was the principal conductor of the Mozarteum Orchestra in Salzburg. In 1954 he became a guest conductor at the Salzburg Festival, and was appointed musical director of the Festival in Hellbrunn in 1976. In 1961 he became a permanent conductor at the Vienna State Opera, and for many years from 1964 onwards he served as a regular conductor at the Berlin State Opera. He also maintained an international career, with engagements in North and South America and in Japan, and undertook a number of important premières in Vienna and elsewhere. In March 1999 he was named an Honorary Member of the Vienna State Opera. Ernst Märzendorfer died in September 2009.