Hildur Guðnadóttir

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Hildur Guðnadóttir
Hildur Guðnadóttir.jpg
Hildur Guðnadóttir in 2007
Background information
Birth nameHildur Ingveldardóttir Guðnadóttir
Born (1982-09-04) 4 September 1982 (age 40)
Reykjavík, Iceland
GenresFilm score
  • Composer
  • musician
  • Cello
  • percussion
LabelsTouch/Deutsche Grammophon/Universal Classics

Hildur Ingveldardóttir Guðnadóttir[a] (born 4 September 1982) is an Icelandic musician and composer. A classically trained cellist, she has played and recorded with the bands Pan Sonic, Throbbing Gristle, Múm, and Stórsveit Nix Noltes, and has toured with Animal Collective and Sunn O))). She has received various accolades, including an Academy Award, two Grammy Awards, and a Primetime Emmy Award.

Hildur has gained international recognition for her film and television scores, including for Journey's End (2017), Mary Magdalene (2018), Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018), Todd Field's Tár and Sarah Polley's Women Talking (both 2022). For her score to Todd Phillips' psychological drama film Joker (2019), she won the Academy Award for Best Original Score, the BAFTA Award for Best Original Music, and the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score, making her the first solo female composer to win in all three.[1][2] She is also known for her work on the HBO miniseries Chernobyl (2019), which won her a Primetime Emmy Award, a BAFTA TV Award and a Grammy Award.

Personal life[edit]

Hildur was born in 1982 in Reykjavík, Iceland,[3] and was raised in Hafnarfjörður.[4] She comes from a family of musicians — her father, Guðni Franzson, is a composer, clarinet player and teacher. Her mother, Ingveldur Guðrún Ólafsdóttir, is an opera singer, and her brother is Þórarinn Guðnason from the band Agent Fresco.[4] Hildur began playing cello at the age of five and performed her first professional gig at 10 alongside her mother at a restaurant.[5] She attended the Reykjavik Music Academy and went on to study composition and new media at the Iceland Academy of the Arts and the Berlin University of the Arts.[3]

Hildur lives in Berlin with her son (born 2012).[5][6] She is married to Sam Slater, an English composer, music producer and sound artist, with whom she collaborated on multiple projects including Chernobyl and Joker.[4][7][8][9] She also used to share a studio with fellow composers Dustin O'Halloran and the late Jóhann Jóhannsson, the latter being a frequent collaborator, while residing in Berlin.[4]


In 2006, Hildur released a solo album, Mount A, under the name Lost In Hildurness, on which she attempted to "involve other people as little as [she] could."[10] It was recorded in New York City and Hólar in the north of Iceland. 2009 saw the release of her second solo album, Without Sinking, on the U.K.-based audio-visual label, Touch.

As well as playing cello and halldorophone,[11] Hildur also sings and arranges choral music, once arranging a choir for performances by Throbbing Gristle in Austria and London. As a composer she has written a score for the play Sumardagur ("Summer Day") performed at Iceland's National Theatre.[12] She has also written the score for the Danish film Kapringen (2012),[13][14] Garth Davis' 2018 film Mary Magdalene (in collaboration with Jóhann Jóhannsson),[15] Stefano Sollima's Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018). Her work on the 2019 Chernobyl miniseries was met with critical acclaim, and won her a Primetime Emmy Award and the Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media.[16]

She composed the score to the 2019 film Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Robert De Niro, and directed by Todd Phillips, for which she won the Premio Soundtrack Stars Award at the 76th Venice International Film Festival and the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score,[17] becoming the first solo woman composer to win in this category.[18] At the 92nd Academy Awards, Hildur won the award for Best Original Score, becoming the first woman to win since the Original Dramatic Score and Original Musical or Comedy Score categories were combined in 2000.[19][20] She is the first Icelander to win an Oscar.[21]

In 2021, Hildur collaborated with her husband, Sam Slater, on the video-game score for Battlefield 2042 by DICE (company) and EA Games. The soundtrack was released 10 September 2021.[22]



  • Mount A (as Lost in Hildurness) (12 Tónar 2006)
    • re-released by Touch Music in 2010, as Hildur Guðnadóttir
  • Without Sinking (Touch, 2009), with a vinyl version with extra tracks in 2011
  • Leyfðu Ljósinu (Touch, 2012), with a multi-channel version on USB
  • Saman (Touch, 2014), with a vinyl version


Film work[edit]

Year Title Director Notes
2011 The Bleeding House Philip Gelatt Composer
2012 A Hijacking Tobias Lindholm
Astro: An Urban Fable in a Magical Rio de Janeiro Paula Trabulsi
2013 Jîn Reha Erdem
Prisoners Denis Villeneuve Solo cello
2015 Sicario
The Revenant Alejandro G. Iñárritu
2016 The Oath Baltasar Kormákur Composer
Arrival Denis Villeneuve Solo Cello, solo halldorophone
2017 Tom of Finland Dome Karukoski Composer, with Lasse Enersen
Journey's End Saul Dibb Composer, with Natalie Holt
2018 Mary Magdalene Garth Davis Composer, with Jóhann Jóhannsson
Sicario: Day of the Soldado Stefano Sollima Composer
2019 Joker Todd Phillips
2022 Tár Todd Field
Women Talking Sarah Polley
2023 A Haunting in Venice[25] Kenneth Branagh
2024 Joker: Folie à Deux Todd Phillips


Year Title Studio Notes
2013 Graduates – Freedom Is Not For Free Documentary film Composer
2014 Så meget godt i vente Danish Documentary Production
Ming Of Harlem: Twenty One Storeys In The Air
2015–2018 Trapped RÚV series Composer, with Jóhannsson & Hoedemaekers
2017 Strong Island Netflix Documentary film Composer
The Departure Pandora Documentary film Composer, additional music
2018 Street Spirits V71 Documentary TV series Composer, with Eric Papky
2019 Chernobyl HBO limited series Composer

Awards and nominations[edit]

Associations Year Category Work Result Ref.
Academy Awards 2020 Best Original Score Joker Won [26]
Asia Pacific Screen Awards 2018 Best Original Score Mary Magdalene Won [27]
AACTA Awards 2018 Best Original Music Score Nominated [28]
Beijing International Film Festival 2018 Best Music Journey's End Won [29]
British Academy Film Awards 2020 Best Original Music Joker Won [30]
British Academy Television Awards 2020 Best Original Music Chernobyl Won [31]
Critics' Choice Movie Awards 2020 Best Score Joker Won [32]
2023 Tár Won [33]
Women Talking Nominated
Golden Globe Awards 2020 Best Original Score – Motion Picture Joker Won [34]
2023 Women Talking Nominated
Grammy Awards 2020 Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media Chernobyl Won [35]
2021 Joker Won
Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella "Bathroom Dance" Nominated
Hollywood Critics Association Awards 2020 Best Score Joker Won [36]
Hollywood Music in Media Awards 2019 Best Original Score in a Feature Film Won[b] [37]
2022 Women Talking Nominated [38]
Houston Film Critics Society Awards 2020 Best Original Score Joker Nominated [39]
Nordic Music Prize 2020 Best Nordic Album Of The Year Chernobyl Won [40]
Primetime Emmy Awards 2019 Outstanding Music Composition for a Limited Series, Movie, or Special Chernobyl (For episode "Please Remain Calm") Won [41]
Robert Awards 2013 Best Score A Hijacking Nominated [42]
Satellite Awards 2020 Best Original Score Joker Won [43]
2023 Women Talking Nominated [44]
Venice International Film Festival 2019 Soundtrack Stars Award Joker Won [45]
World Soundtrack Awards 2019 Television Composer of the Year Chernobyl; Trapped Won [46]
2020 Film Composer of the Year Joker Won



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  3. ^ a b "EMMY AWARD-WINNING HILDUR GUÐNADÓTTIR JOINS DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON". Deutsche Grammophon. 11 October 2019. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
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  6. ^ Ćirić, Jelena (16 September 2019). "Full-Bodied Sound". Iceland Review. Retrieved 10 February 2020.
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  9. ^ "Sam Slater". Sam Slater. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  10. ^ Stubbs, D. "Against the Grain" in The Wire 283 (September 2007), p.12
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External links[edit]