Dominic Muldowney studied with Jonathan Harvey, Bernard Rands, David Blake, and Harrison Birtwistle, who invited him to be his Assistant Music Director at the Royal National Theatre, London. He succeeded Birtwistle as Director in 1981 and remained there until 1997; he was also Composer in Residence to Southern Arts Association (1974-76) and between 1996-98 was Composer in Association to the Orchestra of St John's Smith Square; it was through his theatre work that he found his love of Brecht's poetry, of which he has made many settings. 

The backbone of his orchestral music is an important sequence of concerti (for piano, saxophone, oboe, violin, percussion, trumpet and trombone) many of which explore his fascination with vernacular gestures and polyrhythmic experimentation. Other important works include the Three Pieces for Orchestra (1991), the song cycle Lonely Hearts (1988) and three full-length ballets including The Brontës (1994).

Muldowney's radio opera The Voluptuous Tango (1996) won the Prix Italia in 1997, and the Gold Award for Best Radio Drama at 1997 Sony Drama Awards, receiving its stage premiere as part of the Hoxton New Music Days, London in 2000. Muldowney has written much music for TV and film including The Ploughman's Lunch (1983), 1984 with Richard Burton and John Hurt (1984), The Ginger Tree (1989), Sharpe (1993), Bloody Sunday (2002) and Copenhagen (2002).

Recent commissions include Leaves on the Line, premiered at 2002 BBC Proms by The King's Singers, The Fall of Jerusalem (2000) for Leeds Festival Chorus, a Second Piano Concerto (2002) which was premiered by Angela Hewitt with Leonard Slatkin and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and a Serenade for Horn and Strings written for Richard Watkins and The Goldberg Ensemble.