Synne Skouen was born in Oslo and studied composition at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Wien (1969-73) and the Norwegian Academy of Music where she earned her Diploma in 1976. Since then she has worked as a composer, music critic, Head of music at the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (1992-2000), and columnist in Aftenposten.
She has written solo works, chamber- and orchestral as well as stage music, for practically all the main festivals and institutions in Norway. Her breakthrough came with the music for the full-length ballet Volven (The Sibyl), at the Norwegian Opera in 1989. Her CD Call-Notes was nominated to the Norwegian Grammy, Spellemannsprisen in 2012. In 2017 her chamber opera Ballerina was successfully first performed at the National Opera in Bjørvika, and earned a nomination to The Nordic Council Music Price. She is currently working on a new commission for the National Opera.