Guy Woolfenden was born in Ipswich and educated at Westminster Abbey Choir School, London, and Whitgift School, Croydon. He studied music at Christ's College in Cambridge and went on to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1961 and was Head of Music from 1963 to 1998. He was Artistic Director of the Cambridge Festival from 1986 to 1991. He is the founder of the publishing company, Ariel Music.