Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, and was the son of the sculptor Jørgen Gudmundsen-Holmgreen. He studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Music (RDAM) in Copenhagen with Finn Høffding, Svend Westergaard, Bjørn Hjelmborg, and Vagn Holmboe (instrumentation), graduating in 1958.
He has been associated with the new Danish simplicity and concretism. He has had long collaboration with the Kronos Quartet and for them he composed fourteen string quartets and a Concerto Grosso for string quartet and orchestra he referred to as "Vivaldi on Safari".
He won the Nordic Council Music Prize in 1980 for his Symfoni/Antifoni.
Gudmundsen-Holmgreen died of cancer on 26 June 2016, at the age of 83.