Jolyon Laycock was born in Bath in 1946. He studied for B.Mus and M.Phil in composition at the University of Nottingham under Arnold Whittall and Ivor Keys. His composition teachers included Henri Pousseur, Cornelius Cardew and David Bedford. Later in life he studied for his Ph.D at York under Nicola Lefanu.
His compositions include many songs, music for solo piano, solo woodwind, choir, orchestra and chamber ensemble, as well as experimental and environmental soundscapes. During the 1970s he pursued a freelance career as an experimental sound artist. In 1979 he took up the post of Music and Dance Coordinator at the Arnolfini in Bristol, running a programme regarded as one of the most innovative outside London. In 1990 he took up the post of Concert Director at the University of Bath and the Michael Tippett Centre at Bath Spa University College where he founded the award-winning concert series “Rainbow over Bath” and master-minded the international contemporary music exchange programme "Rainbow Across Europe". In 2004 he was appointed Senior Lecturer in Arts Management at Oxford Brookes University until 2010. He became Chairman of the Severnside Composers Alliance in May 2011.
In 1994 he was commissioned by the Diocese of Bath & Wells to write Edgar the King, a setting for choir and orchestra of poems from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. He has written two operas and is currently working on a third. He has written many educational and community works including Dream River: Great Wall , a creative project for junior school children in collaboration with the UK Chinese Ensemble funded by Youth Music in 2002 & 2003.
His poem A Brief History of... won first prize in the 2004 Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution poetry competition. In 2012 his setting of Philip Larkin‘s poem The North Ship won first prize in the EPSS Jubilee Song Competition, performed by Sarah Leonard. As a result he was able to collaborate with Sarah Leonard in the creation of Dark Seas, a setting, for coloratura soprano, clarinet and piano, of five poems by Phlip Larkin, funded by Arts Council England.