Rudolf Kelterborn was born in Basle on 3 September 1931. In his musical studies he majored in theory (with Gustav Güldenstein and Walter Müller von Kulm), composition (Walther Geiser, Wolfgang Fortner, Boris Blacher and others) and conducting (Alexander Krannhals and Igor Markevitsch).
His large catalogue of works covers all musical genres: stage works, orchestral and chamber music, instrument and vocal compositions for large ensembles and choral music). His works are performed frequently throughout Europe and in Japan and the United States.
Among other things he has headed the music division at Radio DRS, served as chief editor of the trade journal Schweizerische Musikzeitung, headed the Basle Academy of Music, co-founded the Basler Musik Forum, taught as lecturer and professor at various upper-level music schools in Germany and Switzerland and served as guest lecturer inter alia in the United States, England, Japan, China and the countries of eastern Europe.
He has published many essays and books on music theory and analysis and has also served as a guest conductor. He is the recipient of many prizes and awards.