Michael Parsons was born in 1938 in Bolton. He has been active as a composer and performer of experimental music since the mid 1960s.

With Cornelius Cardew and Howard Skempton he was co-founder of the Scratch Orchestra in 1969, and during the 1970s and 80s he was closely associated with visual artists of the Systems group. Recent works have included piano pieces for John Tilbury, Philip Thomas and Tania Chen, ensemble pieces for Apartment House and Sounds Positive, and a solo harp piece for Rhodri Davies.