Originally Parmerud was trained as a photographer but he soon turned to the study of music and received tuition from Lars-Gunnar Bodin, amongst others.
He received his first award back in 1978 for an electro-acoustic work, Proximities, which has since been followed by a great number of important works and more prizes.
Parmerud has composed works commissioned by institutions in countries such as Canada, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Norway and Denmark.
The nominated work, Grains of Voices, was performed in the United Nations headquarters in New York to mark United Nations Day. The work came into being from a desire to compose a piece that illustrates the musical, expressive and cultural diversity of the human voice.
The work (recorded by Caprice, CAP 21579) consists of a great number of recordings from a wide range of countries and cultures, which the composer has put together as a sequence consisting of unbroken passages, each with its expressive character, where different listeners can fasten upon different layers and aspects.
As the composer says himself: My aim was to create an image of the voice, symbolizing the unity of a complex world where ethnic, cultural and idiomatic ideals could be forged into a new form, in a sense like a huge, wild and unrestrained piece of vocal graffiti.
Parmerud visited a number of countries to make recordings as he wanted to draw on personal experience and understanding of the cultures in his examples.