Peter Herbolzheimer came to Germany in 1951 and moved to Detroit in 1953, where he played guitar in clubs. He returned to Germany in 1957, took up the trombone and for one year studied at Nuremberg Conservatory.
In the 1960s he played with the dance orchestra of Nuremberg radio under Josef Nissen, in 1968 becoming member of the pit orchestra of Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg under musical director Hans Koller. In the late 1960s Herbolzheimer belonged to Wolfgang Dauner's Radio Jazz Group Stuttgart and in 1969 formed a big band called Rhythm Combination and Brass and including musicians from European radio orchestras.
Among the members of this band, for which Herbolzheimer wrote most of the arrangements, were Dusko Goykovich, Herb Geller, Art Farmer, Palle Mikkelborg, Ack van Rooyen, Karl Drewo, Bo Stief, Ferdinand Povel, Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen, Alex Riel and Allan Botschinsky. In the late 1970s the band toured successfully with a "jazz gala" program featuring guest stars like Esther Phillips, Stan Getz, Nat Adderley, Gerry Mulligan, Toots Thielemans, Clark Terry, Albert Mangelsdorff and others.
Herbolzheimer wrote music for the opening of the Olympic Games in Munich in 1972 and in 1974 won the International Jazz Composers Competition in Monaco. Later he worked for German television as leader and arranger, and accompanied visiting American musicians such as Al Jarreau and Dizzy Gillespie.
Herbolzheimer's arrangements are a distinctive amalgam of swing, latin and rhythmic rock. He belongs among the most important arrangers in Europe, his orchestra being one of the longest-standing large ensembles.