Axel Borup-Jørgensen was born in Denmark but grew up in Sweden. He was admitted to the Royal Academy of Music in Copenhagen with piano as his main subject and with studies in scoring with Poul Schierbeck and Jørgen Jersild. He was a qualified music teacher but as a composer was mainly self-taught. Even though he was one of the first Danish composers to participate in the Darmstadt Summer Schools, he never wrote serial music.
Borup-Jørgensen's music shows traces of his Swedish adolescence, and is often comprised of Swedish poetry and landscapes. His oeuvre is extensive, including music for orchestra, chamber music, songs with piano accompaniment and other instruments, but especially notable are his works for percussion and guitar. He was a member of the board of Det Unge Tonekunstnerselskab (the Young Composers' Society) and the Society for the Publication of Danish Music, as well as the council of the Danish Arts Foundation. He also received several grants and prizes; most notably in 1965 he received the Lifetime Contribution Award of the Danish Arts Foundation.
Listen to this Swedish Radio programme about Axel Borup-Jørgensen made by Birgitta Tollan.