François Pantillon was born in La Chaux-de-Fonds. He is the third generation of a family of musicians. He conducted his first concerts while still at high school and studied the violin with his father. In 1948 he received his diploma from the Swiss Music-Pedagogical Society. From 1949 until 1954 he studied at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels with violin under Carlo Van Neste and composition under Jean Absil. He studied conducting under E Ferrara, P van Kempen, H. von Karajan.
His activities include violinist, choirmaster, and conductor. He was awarded the music prize of canton Bern in 1979. Except for numerous pieces for a cappella choir and an instrumental work, he began composing late in life. From 1986 on he was encouraged by the success of his oratorio 'Clameurs du Monde', which was selected for the Slovakian Philharmonic's Swiss tour in 1991. This led to several works, including his opera 'Die Richterin', premiered at the Bern Theatre in 1991.