Erik Oña was born in Córdoba, Argentina and studied music at the state university in La Plata, Argentina and the State University of New York in Buffalo, USA. He has received numerous prizes, stipends and commission, among others: Forum '91 Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, De Ijsbreker, Nieuw Ensemble, Stuttgarter Oper, Hannoveraner Tage für Neue Musik, Europäischer Musikmonat (Basel 2001), Ensemble Intercontemporain; 1998 IRCAM stipend in Paris; 1998/2000/2001 the ZKM stipend; 1995/96 Akademie Schloss Solitude stipend.
As a conductor, he initially developed a traditional repertoire with various Argentinean orchestras before concentrating on new music. From 1990 until 1993 he was the director of the Centre for Experimental Opera and Ballet (CEOB), Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires. He additionally conducted various new music ensembles including the Sinfonieta Omega and the Chamber Ensemble of the Goethe Institute. After 1993, he also began conducting in Europe and the United States collaborating with June in Buffalo chamber ensemble, JIB Brass Ensemble, The Instrumental Factor, New York New Music Ensemble, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Kammer Ensemble Neue Musik Berlin,
From 1989 until 1993, Erik Oña was the professor of composition and orchestration at the State University in La Plata and the guest professor for composition and computer music at the Kunitachi College of Music in Tokyo in 1995. From 1995 until 2001 he taught composition at the University in Buffalo/USA and composition and, until 2003, conducting at the University of Birmingham in the UK. He currently teaches composition and is the director of the Electronic Studio of the Hochschule für Musik at the Musik-Akademie der Stadt Basel, Switzerland.