Born in 1968, Jean-Philippe Wurtz studied at the National Conservatoire of the Region of Strasbourg where he obtained first prizes in piano, chamber music, analysis, harmony and counterpoint. He worked closely with Jean-Louis Haguenauer during his time there and later became his assistant in 1993.
He continued his studies at the Karlsruhe Musikhochschule and received guidance from Ernest Bour whom he met in Strasbourg. At the same time, he was admitted as a student to the International Eötvös Institute where he studied with Péter Eötvös. He conducted the Asko, Modern and Contrechamps ensembles, especially during sessions at Szombathely in Hungary and for the Acanthes Center in France.
After working as assistant to Kent Nagano and Péter Eötvös, he founded the Linea ensemble devoted to contemporary music in 1998.
From 1997 to 2000, he was Director of Musical Studies at the Operas of Montpellier and chief assistant at the Montpellier Languedoc-Roussillon Orchestra, where he worked with such conductors as Friedemann Layer, Armin Jordan, Stuart Bedford and directors like Robert Carsen, Daniel Mesguich, Alfredo Arias, and Jacques Nichet, to name just a few.
Over the span of his career, he has conducted the following orchestras/ensembles : Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Linea, Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin, Ensemble Plural, Ensemble Smash, Ensemble Accroche Note, Orchestre National des Pays de Loire, Orchestre National de Bordeaux-Aquitaine, Ensemble Intermodulacio, Ensemble Alternance, Ensemble Oh-ton, Ensemble Talea, Orchestre National de Montpellier, Philharmonia Orchestra, the ECCE, etc.
He has regularly been invited to the following music festivals : Strasbourg (Musica), Montpellier (Radio-France), Budapest (Autumn Festival), Brussels (Ars Musica), Huddersfield (HCMF), Madrid, Bucharest, Victoria, Darmstadt (Ferienkursen), Buffalo (June in Buffalo), New York (Lincoln Center), Royaumont Foundation(France), Seoul (ACL), etc.
His commitment to teaching music has led to regular collaborations with the music schools (Musikhochschulen) of Bremen, Essen, Karlsruhe, in Germany, the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et Danse (National Conservatory of Music and Dance) in Paris, the Haute Ecole des Arts du Rhin, the Strasbourg conservatory and the Eötvös Foundation in Hungary.
As a conductor he has performed many premieres, among them pieces by Klaus Huber, Péter Eötvös, Brian Ferneyhough, Michael Jarrell, Wolfgang Rihm, Younghi Pagh-Paan, Unsuk Chin, Raphaël Cendo, Francesco Filidei, Alberto Posadas, Mark André, Frédéric Durieux, etc.
In September 2015 he was appointed artistic director of the Voix Nouvelles program at the Royaumont Foundation.