Gernot Sahler was born in Trier where he received his education at the Episcopal Church School of Music.

After passing the examination for church music in 1984 he was a prize-winner in the “Jugend musiziert” competition in 1985 in the section flute. He then studied at the Folkwang Academy of Music, Dance and Theatre in Essen in the subjects piano (with Boris Bloch and Michel Roll) and conducting (with Reinhard Peters), passing his artistic final examination in 1991. 

From 1991 Gernot Sahler worked as a répétiteur and Kapellmeister at theatres in Aachen, Essen and Mainz. From 1996 to 2003 he was first Kapellmeister and vice general music director at the Staatstheater Mainz. Since 1996 he has given lectures on conducting and has been the director of the Peter Cornelius Orchestra. He was commissioned by the theatres in Krefeld and Mönchengladbach to compose the opera musical Arche Nova which was given its world premiere in 2000.

Gernot Sahler has conducted approximately 100 music theatre productions as well as ballet performances with Martin Schläpfer, Hans van Manen and Nils Christ, Joachim Schlömer and Irina Pauls. He has also conducted many symphonic concerts including the world premieres of several works (for instance the Gutenberg opera G by Gavin Bryars on the occasion of the re-opening of the Staatstheater Mainz after the completion of renovation work) as well as several concerts for young people in which he also acted as master of ceremonies.

Gernot Sahler was first Kapellmeister and general music director at the Freiburg Theatre from 2003 to 2006. He was invited to the Venice Biennale for the music theatre production and first performance in German at the Freiburg Theatre of Les Nègres (Levinas). In the 2008/09 season he was guest conductor at the Maribor National Theatre (Slovenia) and from 2009 to 2014 he was professor of conducting at the Academy of Music and Dance in Cologne.

In October 2012 Gernot Sahler was appointed as professor at the Mozarteum in Salzburg as music director of the music theatre department and was selected to be the head of the department in 2014. At the Mozarteum Gernot Sahler has collaborated with stage directors Hermann Keckeis, Eike Gramss, Karoline Gruber and Alexander von Pfeil for many productions including La Bohème, Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, L’incoronazione di Poppea, Carmen, Rape of Lucretia, La finta giardiniera and Eugen Onegin. His next scheduled premiere will be Gianni Schicchi (Puccini) in June, 2017.