Viñao studied musical composition in Buenos Aires with the composer Jacobo Ficher . In 1976 he was awarded a British Council scholarship to study in London at the Royal College of Music and later on at the City University where he was awarded a Ph.D in composition. He has been a British citizen since 1994, holding double nationality. During the 1980s he worked at IRCAM in Paris where he developed a particular interest in sound interpolation (sound morphing) a technique that has featured in many of his compositions such as Chant D'Ailleurs which won the Prix Ars Electronica in 1992. Viñao has written orchestral and chamber music for the concert hall, opera and music-theatre, film scores, music for multimedia events and rock and popular music. He has also created and presented programmes for the BBC, radio 3. . He has written a number of percussion works, such as Khan Variations, which have become very well known in the US, Europe and Japan. At the rhythmic level Viñao’s work has been influenced by non western musical traditions as well as by the music of Conlon Nancarrow. In percussion pieces such as Estudios de Fronteras (2004), Viñao used complex polyrhythms to realise with percussion instruments played by human performers ideas derived from Nancarrow’s etudes for pianola. He also explored complex ideas on multi temporality using acoustic instruments combined with electroacoustic means, most noticeably in his string quartet Phrase & Fiction (1994/1995). Viñao presented his views on Nancarrow and his influence on a generation of composer such as himself in a BBC radio programme entitled ‘Children of Nancarrow’. 
More recently Viñao’s work has focused on social and political issues, writing music-theatre or concert pieces concerned with themes such as the invasion of Iraq (‘The Baghdad Monologue’, 2005), the fate of deprived children around the world (‘Chicos del 21’, 2010)  and the financial crisis of 2008 (‘Greed’, 2012).
Prizes and awards
- 1976 to 1979 - British Council Scholarship.
- 1977 - Cobbett Prize in composition, Royal College of Music, London.
- 1979 - 2nd prize at International Competition for Electro-Acoustic Music Bourges, France. 
- 1981 - 1st prize at International Competition for Electro-Acoustic Music Bourges, France.
- 1984 - 1st Prize at The International Rostrum, of the Unesco, World Music Council.
- 1988 - Mention, Prix Ars Electronica, Austria.
- 1989 - Distinction, Prix Ars Electronica, Austria. 
- 1990 - 2nd prize Sony Radio Academy Awards, UK
- 1992 - 2nd prize Sony Radio Academy Awards, UK
- 1992 - Euphonie d'Or, Bourges, France.
- 1992 - 1st Prize Golden Nica, Prix Ars Electronica, Austria. 
- 1994 - Honorary Mention, Prix Ars Electronica, Austria.
- 1994 - Guggenheim fellowship in composition, USA. 
- 1996 - Research & Development Grant, Arts Council of Great Britain.
- 1996 - Honorary Mention, Prix Ars Electronica, Austria. 
- 2004 - Arts and Science research Fellowship, Music Department, University of Cambridge, UK
- 2006 - Leverhulme Trust Artist in Residence at University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory, UK
- 2007- Roger D. Moore Distinguished Visitor, University of Toronto, Canada.
- Chicos del 21+The Baghdad Monologue - ArtZoyd/In-possible Records - 
- Son Entero/Triple Concerto - WERGO (WER 2019-50) 
- Toccata del Mago - Computer Music Currents 11 - WERGO (WER 20312) 
- Hildegard’s Dream - Musidisc (MU 244942)
- Percussive Counterpoint, label: CAG records
- Voice Stories - ALBEDO (Catalog no.: ALBCD012)
- United Instruments of Lucilin , FUGA LIBERA, FUG 501
- Vinao, Parmerud etc. "Sthlm Elektronmusikfestival 1981" - Fylkingen Records - FYLP 1026 -
- Miniatures 1 - Cherry Red Records - 
- Montague, Stephen. 2001. "Viñao, Alejandro". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. S. Sadie and J. Tyrrell. London: Macmillan.
- Interview by Philip Tagney, "Alejandro Viñao", Ballade, Nº 3, 1992, Scandinavian University Press, (English).
- Alejandro Viñao
- PRIX ARS ELECTRONICA 
- (French) A biography of Alejandro Viñao, from IRCAM's website.
- Discourses in Music: Volume 6 Number 2 - An interview with Alejandro Viñao
- TOKAFI: 15 questions to Alejandro Viñao
- Pytheas Center for Contemporary Music