Philippe Manoury was born in 1952 in Tulle. He studied piano with Pierre Sancan, harmony and counterpoint at the École Normale de Musique in Paris, composition with Gérard Condé and Max Deutsch. It was at the premiere of Cryptophonos by the pianist Claude Helffer at the Metz Festival that Manoury became known to the public.
In 1981 Manoury was invited as a researcher to Ircam where he created Sonus ex machina. From 1983 to 1987 he was in charge of education with the Ensemble intercontemporain. He was a composition and electronic music professor at the CNSM (National Higher Music Conservatory) in Lyon from 1987 to 1997. From 1995 to 2001, Manoury was a composer in residence at the Orchestre de Paris. From 1998 to 2000, he headed the Académie Européenne de Musique du Festival d'Aix-en-Provence.
Through his work as a composer he has traveled to the major capitals of the world and he has received numerous awards. Manoury dedicated his 1999 piece Sound and Fury to Pierre Boulez who conducted the Chicago and Cleveland Symphony Orchestra in the premiere performance. Philippe Manoury has lived in the United States since the fall of 2004. He teaches at the University of California, San Diego.