Born in Tokyo in 1947, Jo Kondo graduated from the composition department of Tokyo University of Arts in 1972. He spent a year in New York on a scholarship from the John D. Rockefeller III Fund in 1977-78. In 1979 he taught as guest lecturer at University of Victoria, British Columbia, invited by the Canada Council, and in 1986 resided in London as a British Council Senior Fellow. In 1987 he was composer in residence at Hartt School of Music, Hartford, Connecticut, USA, and taught at Dartington International Summer School in England. He is Professor of Music at Ochanomizu University in Tokyo, and also teaches at Tokyo University of Arts and Elisabeth University of Music in Hiroshima.

In 1980 Kondo founded the Musica Practica Ensemble, a chamber orchestra devoted to contemporary music, and was artistic director of the group until its disbandment in 1991.

He has written more than eighty compositions, ranging from solo pieces to orchestral and electronic works, which have been widely performed in Japan, North America and Europe and recorded on Hat Art, ALM, Fontec Deutsche Grammophon and other labels. He has received commissions from numerous organisations, and his music has been featured at many international music festivals.