Dorothee Oberlinger is one of the top recorder players in the contemporary European scene. She has a substantial catalog of recordings on Deutsche Harmonia Mundi and other major labels.
Oberlinger was born September 2, 1969, in Aachen and grew up mostly in Simmern in southwestern Germany. After achieving early music stardom, she was made an honorary citizen of that small city. Oberlinger attended the University of Cologne, studying music education and Germanistik (German cultural studies). After passing a major government exam, she switched to the recorder, enrolling in classes with Günther Höller at the Cologne University of Music and Dance. She also studied in Amsterdam with Walter van Hauwe and in Milan with Pedro Memelsdorff. Oberlinger won the Moeck International Competition in London in 1997, and the following year she made her debut at Wigmore Hall.
Oberlinger has performed as a soloist with various leading historical performance ensembles. For some years, she had an ongoing relationship with Sonatori de la Gioiosa Marca, also performing with the Musica Antiqua Köln, the Academy of Ancient Music in London, and Ensemble 1700, which she founded in 2002, and with which she recorded several albums. As a solo recitalist, she has been especially visible at festivals, including the Musikfestspiele Potsdam, the Tage der Alten Musik Regensburg, and the Bach Festival Arnstadt. She has directed the Arols Baroque Festival and, since 2018, the Sanssouci Music Festival in Potsdam. Oberlinger has occasionally conducted Baroque performances, including at a production of Handel's opera Silla at the International Handel Festival in Göttingen in 2016. The following year, she was named a Telemann Ambassador as part of the Europewide commemorations of the 250th anniversary of that composer's death.
Oberlinger has occasionally performed and recorded contemporary music and even pop: she was heard on the 2009 track, Takla Makan, by the synth-pop duo Yello (from the Touch Yello album). She recorded several albums for Raumklang, Marc Aurel, and other labels in the 2000s decade before moving to Deutsche Harmonia Mundi in 2009, releasing an album of recorder concertos by Telemann, Graupner, and Johann Christoph Schultze. She has continued to be associated with that label, releasing the album Night Music in 2019. Oberlinger has been a professor at the Salzburg Mozarteum since 2004.