Norwegian composer, critic and teacher Finn Mortensen was born in Oslo on 6 January 1922 into a family of publishers. He studied at the Royal Danish Academy and at the Oslo Conservatory of Music, and took part in the Darmstadt summer school and in Stockhausen's classes in Cologne.
Mortensen's music began to be heard in the 1950s, his early music mostly influenced by expressionism and neoclassicism. He referred to his later music as 'neo-serial' after it began to include aleatoric and twelve-tone techniques.
He became the leader of the Norwegian contemporary music advocacy group Ny Musikk and the first director of the newly founded Norwegian Concert Institute in 1968.
He also worked as a music critic for Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet and for the German magazine Melos.
Finn Mortensen died on 23 May 1983, aged sixty-one. His works are still regularly performed by leading Norwegian orchestras.