Hugi Guðmundsson (born 1977 in Reykjavík, Iceland) is one of the most prominent Icelandic contemporary composers of his generation. He studied classical guitar from a young age, but early on his true passion was playing electric guitar in death metal bands. Though seemingly far from the music he composes today, Guðmundsson has pointed out that the freedom of form, tonality, and rhythm in death metal is much closer to contemporary classical music than traditional pop or rock.
Despite completing his guitar studies, Guðmundsson’s heart was always set on composing. He earned a BMus in composition from the Reykjavík College of Music in 2001, where he studied with Þorkell Sigurbjörnsson and Úlfar Ingi Haraldsson. He then moved to Denmark to study with Niels Rosing-Schow, Bent Sørensen, and Hans Abrahamsen at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen, completing his master’s degree in 2005. He then pursued a second master’s degree in electronic and computer music from the Sonology Institute in The Hague, Netherlands, graduating in 2007.
Guðmundsson’s music ranges from solo works to orchestral pieces, but he is best known for his choral music, which is widely performed around the world and has become part of the standard repertoire of many Icelandic choirs. In recent years, he has increasingly focused on larger works, including concertos, orchestral works, operas, and oratorios.
Inquisitive by nature and with a keen interest in physics and technology, Guðmundsson is not afraid to delve into other art forms. Installations and other visual arts have begun to play a bigger role in his work in recent years, and photography, particularly portraiture, has transcended from hobby to side hustle.
In addition to his musical and artistic pursuits, Guðmundsson is also a dedicated husband and father. He lives in Copenhagen, Denmark, with his wife, Baroque cellist and viola da gamba player Hanna Loftsdóttir, and their two daughters. He is also active in the local community and volunteers a lot of his spare time to coaching the local girls basketball team. He loves working with young people and helping them to develop their skills and confidence.