Stefan Hakenberg was born in Wuppertal, Germany, studied music at the conservatories in Düsseldorf and Cologne, and composition with Hans Werner Henze. He contributed to Henze's "Alternative Cultural Projects". Inspired by experiences there, he developed his own projects such as "Der Kinderkreuzzug" for the Opera of Cologne. In 1994 Stefan Hakenberg was accepted into a Ph.D. program at Harvard University where he studied with Mario Davidovsky and Bernard Rands. Other grants and fellowships brought him to the summer festivals in Tanglewood, Aspen, and Fontainebleau, to the artists' colonies "The MacDowell Colony" in New Hampshire, "Yaddo" in Saratoga Springs, and the "Atelierhaus Worpswede" in Lower Saxony. The Endowment for the Arts in North-Rhine Westfalia has sponsored his work repeatedly. Amongst the presenters of his music are the "Ensemble Phorminx" from Darmstadt, "The New Millennium Ensemble" from New York, the "Bangkok Saxophone Quartet," "Duo Contemporain" from Rotterdam, and "UnitedBerlin," conductors like Jeffrey Milarsky, Morris Rosenzweig, Richard Pittman, George Tsontakis and Markus Stenz, and soloists like Phoebe Carrai, Xiaolian Dai, Aeri Ji, and Changyuan Wang. His compositional output includes works for a wide variety of media, from solo chamber music to stage works to multimedia installations. His composition "Like Juicy Peaches" has been interpreted in a video by Theo Lipfert. Of particular meaning in his artistic development are both composing in collaboration with amateurs, and the integration of players from the folk music world or of non-western background. He is one of the artistic directors of the Southeast Alaskan contemporary music festival "CrossSound."