Michael Finnissy was born in 1946 in London, started composing aged 4, and was self taught until he gained a Foundation Scholarship to the Royal College of Music in 1965, where his principal teacher was Bernard Stevens. Whilst there he secretly planned that his future work would gradually assemble a complete, intensely personalised, history of world music, representing (sometimes ironically) all periods and genres. His ideology and aesthetics were influenced by Underground and avant-garde cinema: Markopoulos, Brakhage, Jack Smith, Warhol, Pasolini, Jarman and Godard. He served as president of the ISCM/IGNM from 1990 until 1996. His work has also focussed on non-professional music-making, with CoMA (Contemporary Music for All), and on teaching - currently as professor of composition at the University of Southampton. As pianist he has given more than 300 world premières, touring and broadcasting worldwide.