Mogens Winkel Holm studied instrumentation at the Royal Academy of Music in Copenhagen with Jørgen Jersild and oboe with Mogens Steen Andreasen. He was active both as a soloist and as an orchestral player in the Royal Orchestra as well as the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra. He was a member of the music staff at the Danish daily Politiken, and he played an important role as an organizer in the musical life of Denmark. He was chairman of the Danish Composers' Society for almost 20 years.
Mogens Winkel Holm oeuvre was extensive, covering all genres. Especially ballet took up his attention; he was thus in charge of choreography and production of lots of his own works at the Royal Theatre as well as Danish and Swedish television in the period between 1964 and 84. From the mid-60s onward his music gradually became more dramatic and contrasting, even though it always maintained a severe - verging on schematic - form: "The framework protects me from being completely absorbed by the material, but it also protects the material from being absorbed by me". This is evident in early works like his Sonata for Wind Quintet, Op. 25 and his chamber opera Sonate for Fire Operasangere (Sonata for Four Opera Singers) and in later works like e.g. Syster, min syster (Sister, my Sister) for soprano and sinfonietta ensemble and Prison Music for three sopranos, three oboes and a harp.