Panion grew up in Birmingham and as a member of Faith Apostolic Church. He earned his masters in music education from Alabama A&M University and a master's and doctorate in music theory from Ohio State University.
From 1983 to 1988 he served as music director and arranger for the International Pentecostal Young People's Union (IPYPU). His orchestral arrangements of two songs by the Winans brought him to the attention of their producer, Quincy Jones. His work on the Winans' next album gained him additional notice and in 1992 he was hired by Stevie Wonder to do arrangements for an upcoming album, and later to tour with him and conduct the orchestras he performed with, including the Royal Philharmonic, Bolshoi Theater Orchestra, and the Orchestra of Paris. Panion has also collaborated with Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, the Lionel Hampton Orchestra and the Blind Boys of Alabama. His work has earned two Grammy and two Dove awards. Orchestras from across North America have performed many of Panion's own works.
Panion has produced recordings for numerous artists, such as Ruben Studdard, Tekneek, SuperJazz Big Band with Ellis Marsalis (co-produced wth UAB Jazz Ensemble director, Ray Reach), Juanita Bynum and Jonathan Butler. The CD, Gospel Goes Classical, featuring Bynum and Butler, ranked high in the top 10 in both the Gospel and the Classical Crosover categories in Billboard.
Panion is the founder of ComPanion Enterprises which, in April 2006, purchased the Audiostate 55 recording studio in Woodlawn for use in its educational mission. The facility collaborates with the Woodlawn Foundation to reach hundreds of students each year. In 2016 the Gospel trio "Virtue" recorded an album at Audiostate that reached #3 on the Billboard Gospel Album chart.
Panion and his wife, Karyl, have four children: Lekisha, Henry IV, Alex, and Jonathan.
- "Panion's "Gospel Goes Classical" Recording Makes Music History on the Billboard Charts."  (November 13, 2006) UAB
- Williams, Roy L. (July 24, 2011) "On the Record with Henry Panion III, founder of Audiostate 55 Recording Studios & Entertainment Company." The Birmingham News
- "Groundbreakers" (December 2013) Birmingham magazine
- Garrison, Greg (March 15, 2016) "Album recorded in Birmingham hits Top 3 on Billboard chart." The Birmingham News
- Thomason, Shannon (February 8, 2023) "Henry Panion III chosen for Alabama Music Hall of Fame induction." UAB News