Hugi Gudmundsson was born in 1977 in Reykjavik, Iceland. He is one of the most prominent names in Icelandic contemporary music of his generation.
He studied composition at the Reykjavik Collage of Music in 2001. with Thorkell 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.
Gudmundsson’s music ranges from solo works to orchestral pieces. He is very well known for his choral music which has become a part of the standard repertoire of many Icelandic choirs. But in recent years, bigger works have become an increasing part of his profile, concertos, orchestral works and last but not least, opera. His critically acclaimed and award winning first opera, Hamlet in Absentia, was a big success and paved the way for two more operas that are now in the pipeline. He has also written music for film and media, including music for video games, feature films and documentaries.
Gudmundsson studied classical guitar from early age but his real inspiration in those years came from playing electric guitar in bands. But he was never interested in playing traditional rock ‘n’ roll in cover bands, it was the heaviest death metal that inspired the most. Although it may seem a long way from the music he composes now, Gudmundsson has pointed out that the freedom of form, tonality and rhythm that is so prominent in death metal is in fact much closer to contemporary classical music than traditional pop or rock. So perhaps it is not such a strange path to take after all.