Hildur Guðnadóttir

© Rune Kongsro


Berlin-based Hildur Guðnadóttir is an Icelandic composer, cello player, and singer who has been manifesting herself at the forefront of experimental pop and contemporary music. In her solo works she draws out a broad spectrum of sounds from her instrument, ranging from intimate simplicity to huge soundscapes.

"Guðnadóttir takes a cello and gentle voice and, through software manipulation, scales simple phrases up to celestial heights" - The Wire: Adventures in Modern Music.

Gudnadóttir began playing cello as a child, entered the Reykjavík Music Academy and then moved on to musical studies/composition and new media at the Iceland Academy of the Arts and the Berlin University of the Arts.

She has released four critically acclaimed solo albums on Touch, which were rereleased in 2020 on Deutsche Grammophon: Mount A (2006), Without Sinking (2009), Leyfðu Ljósinu (2012) and Saman (2014). Her records have been nominated a number of times for the Icelandic Music Awards.

Hildur Guðnadóttir has composed music for theatre, dance performances and films. The Icelandic Symphony Orchestra, Icelandic National Theatre, Tate Modern, The British Film Institute, The Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm and Gothenburg National Theatre are amongst the institutions that have commissioned new works. She was nominated for the Nordic Music Council Prize as composer of the year 2014.

Among others Hildur Gudnadóttir has performed live and recorded music with Skúli Sverrisson, Jóhann Jóhannsson, múm, Sunn O))), Pan Sonic, Hauschka, Wildbirds & Peacedrums, Ryuichi Sakamoto, David Sylvian, The Knife, Fever Ray and Throbbing Gristle.

In 2018, she was nominated for a Discovery of the Year Award at the World Soundtrack Academy in Gent, where she received the award as Best TV Composer in 2019. Furthermore, she received the Asia Pacific Screen Award for Best Score (Mary Magdalene) and Best Score at the Beijing International Film Festival for Journey’s End.

Her most recent film scores include the music for the HBO series Chernobyl, awarded with an Emmy as well as a Grammy, and the score for Todd Phillip's last film Joker, for which Hildur Gudnadóttir received an Academy Award for Best Music and was furthermore awarded with a BAFTA, a Golden Globe and the Critics' Choice Movie Award.


Women Talking, 2022
Directed by Sarah Polley

TÁR, 2022
Directed by Todd Field

Chernobyl, 2019
Directed by Johan Renck

Joker, 2019
Directed by Todd Phillips

Sicario 2, 2018
Directed by Stefano Sollima

Street Spirits, 2018
Directed by Ryan Furlong

Mary Magdalene, 2017
Directed by Garth Davis

Tom of Finland, 2017
Directed by Dome Karukoski

The Beautiful Lady Without Mercy, 2017
Directed by Gianluigi Carella

Strong Island, 2017
Directed by Yance Ford

The Oath, 2016
Directed by Baltasar Kormákur

Trapped, 2015/16
Directed by Baltasar Kormákur
Music for 10 episodes
Co-composers: Jóhann Jóhannsson, Rutger Hoedemaekers

End of Summer, 2014
Directed by Jóhann Jóhannsson

Jin, 2013
Directed by Reha Erdem

Pandora's Box (1929), 2012
Directed by Georg Wilhelm Pabst

A Hijacking, 2012
Directed by Tobias Lindholm

The Bleeding, 2011
Directed by Philip Gelatt
The Gift, 2006
Directed by Markus Wambsganss
Another, 2005
Directed by Helena Jónsdóttir
Jón Bóndi, 2004
Directed by Una Lorenzen
Der Besuch, 2004
Directed by Vicky Cohn


PREPARED LISTENING for Cello and Voice

Music and Performance: Hildur Guðnadóttir

We live in a world saturated with electromagnetic radiation, largely of our own making. Since the beginning of the 20th century we have been projecting radio waves, then television, and now mobile phones and the internet into every corner of the Earth. Very few people have ever experienced an unpolluted space free of this radiation. Pinar & Viola envisage creating an installation based on the principle of the Faraday Cage, which when built will allow the audience to be in an inert space, free from such influence.

The Richard Thomas Foundation commissioned Hildur Guðnadóttir to create a solo cello piece, intended ultimately to be performed in such an installation.