Dorothee Oberlinger was born in Aachen and raised in Simmern. At the University of Cologne, she studied music education and German studies. After university, she studied recorder in Cologne, Amsterdam and Milan. Her teachers include Günther Höller (Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln), Walter van Hauwe (Amsterdam) and Pedro Memelsdorff (Milan). In 1997 she won the first prize at the international "Moeck" UK / SRP competition. In 1998, she made her solo debut at London's Wigmore Hall.