Born in Austria, Gottfried Pilz has worked as a stage and costume designer for the opera houses of Vienna, Berlin, Dresden, London, New York and Moscow, collaborating with esteemed directors including John Dew (Les Huguenots at the Deutsche Oper Berlin), Götz Friedrich (the Ring cycle at the Finnish National Opera in Helsinki), and William Friedkin (LA Opera's double bill of Duke Bluebeard's Castle and Gianni Schicchi).

In 1993 he made his directorial debut with The Queen of Spades at LA Opera. Subsequent productions include the German premiere of Saint François d'Assise at the Leipzig Opera, Die Walkure in St. Petersburg and In hora mortis / The Book with Seven Seals at the Bielefeld Theater. Other engagements have taken him to Madrid, the Salzburg Festival and the Metropolitan Opera. His set designs for the Bavarian State Opera in Munich include Slaughterhouse 5, The Prince of Homburg, Falstaff and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.