Andy Vores was born in Cardiff, Wales in 1956 and has lived in the United States since 1987. He studied composition at Lancaster University, England with Edward Cowie. After graduating he was awarded an Arts Council of Great Britain Bursary for Composition and moved to London, working as a freelance music copyist and as Lecturer in Composition at the City University and as a music copyist for Universal Edition, Schotts, Novellos, and Faber Music. In 1986 he was a Fellow in Composition at Tanglewood, where he studied with Oliver Knussen. Hammer and Darkness, Mirror and Knife, written that summer, was awarded the Tanglewood Prize for Composition.
He moved to Boston in 1989, where he was offered one of five three-year funded residencies with the composers' collective NuClassix. In 1992 he was Composer-in-Residence at Bemidji State University, the first holder of an Interdisciplinary Fellowship established by the American Composers Forum and the Minnesota State University System as part of a scheme to examine new ways of utilizing creative artists in college education. From 1993 to 1994 he was Communications Director of the American (then the Minnesota) Composers Forum in St. Paul, returning to Boston to teach composition at the Walnut Hill School for Performing Arts.
From 1999 to 2001 he was Composer-in-Residence to the BankBoston Celebrity Series: Emerging Artists. He was Composer-in-Residence for the New England Philharmonic from 2002 to 2005. From 2001 until 2016 he taught at The Boston Conservatory where he was Chair of Composition, Theory, and Music History. In 2016 he became interim Dean of Music at the newly merged Boston Conservatory at Berklee.