He was born in Vienna in 1924 and studied there and at the Jerusalem Conservatory. He led the Palestine Broadcasting Corporation Orchestra 1938-45. He has lived in London since 1946. In 1947 he won the International Carl Flesch Violin Competition. He became a British subject in 1950.
He has also been a leader of the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. In addition, he was formerly first violin with the London String Quartet (a later ensemble than the London Quartet), and he has played chamber music on numerous occasions. Gruenberg is a professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London, and has participated as a music competition juror many times.
Erich Gruenberg has made numerous recordings, including the complete violin sonatas of Beethoven, with David Wilde. He also plays more modern repertoire such as Olivier Messiaen, Berthold Goldschmidt and Roberto Gerhard.
Gruenberg also played on several recordings by The Beatles, including as the lead violinist for the orchestral buildup on "A Day in the Life" and "She's Leaving Home". The group whimsically had him play wearing a prop gorilla paw on his bow hand.