British composer and ethnomusicologist Peter Crossley-Holland was born in London on 28 January 1916. He studied medicine at St John's College, Cambridge, but two of his compositions won him a Royal College of Music composition scholarship, enabling him to study with John Ireland. Later he studied privately with Julius Harrison, Edmund Rubbra and Mátyás Seiber.
His output included various works in ethnic styles. His Symphony in D (1988-94) was recorded by Martin Yates and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. He also wrote books on Tibetan Buddhist music.
He worked as a producer for the BBC Third Programme (which later became BBC Radio 3), then moved to Germany and was assistant director of Berlin's Institute for Musical Research. He taught in Illinois and Hawaii, then became Professor of Music (Ethnomusicology) at the University of California, Los Angeles.
He retired in 1983, moving to Wales, and died of a heart attack in London on 27 April 2001, aged eighty-five.