Bernd Purkrabek studied at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München (Lichtgestaltung).
He developed the lighting design in collaboration with the artistic team in numerous productions such as: Der Prinz von Homburg, I vespri siciliani, Macbeth, Jenufa, La fanciulla del West, Charodejka, Peter Grimes and Rusalka all directed by Christof Loy; Lazarus, SehnsuchtMeer, Saul and Jephtha directed by Claus Guth; Der Ferne Klang and Der fliegende Holländer directed by Florentine Klepper; Suster Bertken and Troparion both directed by Pierre Audi; Kontrapunkt choreographed by Jörg Weinöhl, Cosi fan tutte, Rosenkavalier and the double bill Eine Florentinische Tragödie/Gianni Schicchi with director Jan Philipp Gloger, Queen of spades with director Stefan Herheim, Don Pasquale and Agrippina directed by Mariame Clément, Orlando (Händel) with director Claus Guth, Rusalka with director Nicola Raab, La Vestale with director Johannes Erath, Königskinder with director Frank Hilbrich, La divisione del mondo by Giovanni Legrenzi, Orfeo (Monteverdi) with director Jetske Mijnssen, Juditha Triumphans (Vivaldi) with director Silvia Costa, Porgy and Bess with director Matthew Wild and Rusalka with director Christoph Loy.
2021 productions include at Glyndebourne festival Il turco in Italia collaborating with director Mariame Clement, Der >Zigeuner<baron with director Tobias Kratzer at Komische Oper in Berlin, Il combattimento o la teoria del cigno nero and Pierrot Lunaire with director Silvia Costa at Festival Aix-En-Provence and The Time of Our Singing (music by Kris Defoort), the world premiere at Theatre de la Monnaie collaborating with the director Ted Huffman.
In 2022 he illuminated the new production Die Vögel at Opera du Rhin, music by Walter Braunfels, collaborating with director Ted Huffman, Il Trittico (Puccini) at Theatre de la Monnaie, Moise et Pharaon at Festival Aix En Provence, both with director Tobias Kratzer and Freitag aus Licht (Stockhausen) collaborating with director Silvia Costa at Opera de Lille in collaboration with Le Balcon and Festival d'Automne.
2023 he collaborated with director Jetske Mijnssen on Kleider machen Leute by Alexander Zemlinsky at the National Theatre of Czech Republic and La Clemenza di Tito at Royal The Royal Opera House in Copenhagen. Further on with Silvia Costa for L'Orfeo at Staatsoper Hannover, Mariame Clément for Don Giovanni at Glyndebourne festival and Anna-Sophie Mahler for Saint François d'Assise at Staatsoper Stuttgart.
He was nominated for the Knight of Illumination Award 2017 for Cosi fan tutte at the Royal Opera House London.