From 1954 to 1960 Katzer studied piano, music theory, and composition with (amongst others) Rudolf Wagner-Regeny and Ruth Zechlin at the Hanns Eisler Hochschule fuer Musik in East Berlin. From 1957 to 1958 he studied in Prague with Karel Janacek. From 1961 to 1963 he was a postgraduate student of Hanns Eisler and Leo Spies at the German Academy of the Arts in Berlin. In 1963 he became a freelance composer and musician. In 1978 Katzer was elected to membership in the Academy of the Arts in (East) Berlin. In 1982 he founded the Studio for Electroacoustical Music affiliated with the Music Department of the Academy of the Arts (the first studio of this kind in the DDR), whose artistic director he remained until 2005. In 1987 he was appointed Professor and subsequently taught a masterclass in composition at the Academy of the Arts. From 1988 to 1991 he was President of the German Section of the C.I.M.E. (International Council for Electroacoustical Music) and from 1990 to 2001 was a presiding member of the Deutscher Musikrat (German Music Council). Katzer now lives in Zeuthen near Berlin. Katzer's compositions include works for chamber ensembles, orchestral works, solo concertos, operas, ballets, puppet plays, and oratorios. His work also encompasses electroacoustical pieces, music for Hoerspiele, multimedia projects, and projects involving improvised music.