Gunilla Lowensten was born in Uppsala in 1929 and grew up in Lund. After graduating secondary school she moved to England and took a degree as a piano and theory teacher at the Guildhall School of Muisc (1954–1958). She was awarded the school’s composition prize in 1958. She continued her composition studies with Mattyas Seiber, then the foremost teacher of modern composition technique in London (he taught many distinguished composers, including Ingvar Lidholm, who studied with him in the spring of 1954).
In 1960 her op. 3, Swedish-Hungarian Variations for orchestra, was premiered by Norrköpings orkesterförening (now the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra). It was an innovative piece with an original form that made use of a metamorposis technique. Unfortunately, it was many years before she again had the opportunity to write for orchestra. Music for Strings was composed in 1970 and Tellus Mater in 1980 (recording: Caprice 1266). The rest of her output (some 30 pieces in all) is divided among piano pieces, chamber music, and songs.
None of her 38 compositions is in print, but all have received public performances, both in England and in Sweden.