Pinnock received his first music lessons as a choir boy ( 7 years old ) at the Cathedral of Canterbury. From 1964 to 1967 he studied at the Royal College of Music in London organ and harpsichord. In 1973 he founded the ensemble The English Concert and devoted himself mainly of Ancient Music; The orchestra played music on historical instruments (see historical performance practice ).
1990 Pinnock conducted the New York Classical band. Since 1991 he has directed the National Arts Centre Orchestra Ottawa. Pinnock recorded numerous records. In addition to the works of early music he played an even music of Manuel de Falla, Robert Gerhard, Walter Leigh and Frank Martin. Pinnock was honored in 1999 by the city of Halle on the Saale with the Handel Prize.
In autumn 2008, Pinnock made her first appearance as guest conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic.