Björlin was born in Stockholm in 1933. He studied music with conductor Igor Markevitch in Salzburg, Austria at age 19 and later continued his studies at the Conservatoire de Paris, with teacher Nadia Boulanger. After completing his military service, he worked at the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm and at the Malmö College of Music. From 1962, he was employed as musical producer at Sveriges Radio and wrote music for several movies and television productions, including the series of films and TV series about the children on the island Saltkråkan (Seacrow Island), based on Astrid Lindgren's scripts.
He also worked as music director for many years under Ingmar Bergman at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm. Bjorlin came to the United States in 1977. He served as guest conductor for the London Symphony and the Philadelphia Orchestra.
He worked with Evert Taube, his neighbor from a very young age. Later, together with Sven-Bertil Taube, he also produced a number of recordings of songs by Carl Michael Bellman, Evert Taube and Ulf Peder Olrog. He conducted several recordings of orchestral music by fellow Swedes Johan Helmich Roman and Franz Berwald.
During the last years before his death, he worked in Florida mostly, where he was conductor of the Greater Palm Beach Symphony (since 1987) and the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra. He had composed important work such as the "Musical Portrait of Raoul Wallenberg" in the years before his passing and several operas. He was known to be the most active opera composer in the world in the 20th century.
Björlin received among other prizes the Fritz Gustaf Grafström Prize in 1961 and shared the Evert Taube Prize with Sven-Bertil Taube in 1975. He received the Swedish Music Achievement prize, In 1980, he received the 'Golden key' to the city of Newport, Rhode Island for his musical achievements and for bringing culture to their town. The 7th (?) of September was declared 'Maestro Ulf Bjorlin Day' by the Mayor of Newport.
At the time of his passing, it was noted that he was survived by his wife, Fary; three daughters: Nadia, of Palm Beach, Katja Salen of Stockholm, and Kamilla Pariser of Marblehead, Mass.; three sons: Ulf Jr and Jean-Paul, both of Palm Beach, and Kaj, of Stockholm; two brothers, and two grandchildren.
- "Ulf Bjorlin, Composer And a Conductor, 60". The New York Times. 2 November 1993. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 6 February 2020.
- "Nadia Bjorlin". IMDb. Retrieved 6 February 2020.
- Sun-Sentinel, South Florida (2 May 1990). "Move Under Way to Oust Conductor Ulf Bjorlin". Sun-Sentinel.com. Retrieved 6 February 2020.
- "SHORT TAKES : Actress Flies to Aid Conductor". Los Angeles Times. 2 July 1990. Retrieved 6 February 2020.
- Briquelet, Kate (12 July 2019). "Epstein Had His Own Lodge at Interlochen's Prestigious Arts Camp for Kids". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 6 February 2020.