Born in Oneglia, Italy, Luciano Berio studied with Giorgio Federico Ghedini at the Milan Conservatory and with Luigi Dallapiccola at Tanglewood, then worked for the Italian Broadcasting Corporation from 1953 through 1960. In 1960 he founded the Studio di Fonologia and directed a concert series under its name. He has taught in the United States at Tanglewood, Mills College and Harvard University; and in Europe at Darmstadt and Dartington.
From 1965 to 1971 he was a member of the composition faculty at the Juilliard School in New York. Berio ran the electro-acoustic department of IRCAM in Paris until 1980, and the following year he founded tempo Reale, an institute for new music, in Florence. In 1982 he became Musical Director of the newly founded Regional Orchestra of Tuscany, and in 1984 was Artistic Director of the Maggio Musicale in Florence. In 1988 he became an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music, London. In 1994 Berio became Distinguished Composer in Residence at Harvard University and remained there until 2000.