Nikolai Jaeger studied the flute in Freiburg and Paris with Robert Aitken, Patrick Gallois and Philippe Pierlot. During his studies he went to Egypt as solo flautist of the Cairo Symphony Orchestra, which also gave him the opportunity to become acquainted with local musical traditions. In the chamber music field he focuses on contemporary music. He has played under the direction of a number of leading contemporary composers, including Helmut Lachenmann, Heinz Holliger and Wolfgang Rihm, and has also premiered many works specially written for him.
Having served as principal flute in various orchestras, in 2001 he was appointed principal flute of the Weimar Staatskapelle, one of Germany's most historic and distinguished orchestras, whose past leaders included Johann Sebastian Bach, Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Franz Liszt and Richard Strauss. He is also a professor at the Hochschule für Musik "Franz Liszt" in Weimar, and actively engaged in rediscovering forgotten, interesting works belonging to the Weimar musical tradition.