“To the girls, to the women, to the mothers, to the daughters who hear the music bubbling within, please speak up – we need to hear your voices.” Hildur Guðnadóttir. Winner of the 2020 Oscar for Best Original Score for Joker.

Hildur Guðnadóttir’s sensational run of success continued yesterday (9 February 2020) at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles when she won the Academy Award for Best Original Score. The Icelandic composer, cellist and singer, an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist, triumphed with her original soundtrack to Todd Phillips’ dark psychological thriller Joker.

Guðnadóttir’s victory set the seal on a remarkable new record for the highest number of awards ever received in a single season by a female composer. She also became the first woman to win the Best Original Score Oscar since Marilyn Bergman was honoured for the song score to Yentl in 1983. (Anne Dudley and Rachel Portman both received Oscars in the 1990s in the now discontinued Best Original Musical or Comedy Score category).

“Congratulations to Hildur on her well-deserved Oscar and her unparalleled run of success in the lead-up to the Academy Awards,” says Dr Clemens Trautmann, President Deutsche Grammophon. “Remembering her first releases on the Yellow Label, featuring collaborations with Jóhann Jóhannsson and Víkingur Ólafsson, we’re thankful and proud that our journey together started so organically two years ago. We can’t wait to make more of her inspired music known to a global audience whose hearts and souls she has already won over with the phenomenal scores of Chernobyl and Joker.”

Frank Briegmann, CEO & President Universal Music Central Europe and Deutsche Grammophon, comments: “Congratulations to Hildur on her phenomenal multi-award success over the past months, which she has now capped off with her first Oscar win! The unique and intense scores she wrote for Chernobyl and Joker, and her exciting solitary works have earned her a place among the most exceptional composers of our time. Deutsche Grammophon has been committed to innovation throughout its 120-year history and encourages young artists to push the boundaries. It is an absolute pleasure to witness the appreciation with which Hildur and her work are received, both by the public and the industry. As her label, we feel encouraged to continue working passionately to build up new repertoire and to constantly develop the genre of classical music.”

The scale of Hildur’s achievement reflects the worldwide critical acclaim and massive popular interest generated by her music.

Her Joker soundtrack won Best Score at the BAFTA Awards (2 February 2020) after taking Best Original Score – Motion Picture at the Golden Globes (5 January), where she became the first woman ever to win as solo composer. Joker again emerged from a strong field to win the 25th annual Critics’ Choice Award for Best Score on 12 January, just days after securing Best Score at the Hollywood Critics Association Awards (9 January), while Hildur was a double-winner at the inaugural Society of Composers and Lyricists’ Awards (7 January), picking up Outstanding Original Score for a Studio Film (Joker) and Outstanding Original Score for Television or Streaming Production (Chernobyl).

Her haunting Chernobyl music also scooped Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media at the Grammy Awards (26 January), where she became the first solo woman ever to win the category and the first female winner since 1985 (when Sharon Robinson, Sue Sheridan and Allee Willis won for Beverly Hills Cop). The Chernobyl soundtrack had earlier won both the Outstanding Music Composition for a Limited Series, Movie, or Special (Original Dramatic Score) category at the Emmy Awards (16 September 2019) and the Original Score category at the RTS Craft and Design Awards (25 November), and earned Guðnadóttir the title of Television Composer of the Year at the World Soundtrack Awards (18 October). She has now been nominated in the Best Classical Artist category at the 2020 Global Awards, to be presented at London’s Royal Albert Hall on 5 March.

The Yellow Label has chosen to celebrate Hildur’s record-breaking achievements by issuing her earlier catalogue of solo albums under its own imprint. DG has also released the new single and video of her profoundly moving song Fólk fær andlit (“People Get Faces”), inspired by the international refugee crisis and featuring the composer’s vocals.

Hildur Guðnadóttir wins BAFTA award

Her phenomenal awards season continues as she wins the BAFTA award for Original Score. Watch the music video for her latest single "Fólk fær andlit", which translates to "People Get Faces".

Record-breaking Chernobyl composer becomes first solo woman ever to win Grammy for Best Score

Golden Globe and Emmy-winning Icelandic composer Hildur Guðnadóttir has now got a GRAMMY to add to her growing collection, after winning the award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media for her music to Chernobyl. She picked up the accolade at last night’s star-studded ceremony in Los Angeles, becoming the first solo woman ever to win in that category – and the first female winner in 35 years (since Sharon Robinson, Sue Sheridan and Allee Willis won for Beverly Hills Cop in 1985).

The latest award comes as Hildur unveils her new single and video for the beautifully haunting song Fólk fær andlit (“People Get Faces”), which is out today. The Berlin-based Icelandic composer, cellist and singer is also releasing her earlier albums on Deutsche Grammophon, where she signed as an exclusive artist in October last year.

Hildur’s phenomenal run of success looks set to continue following her first Oscar and BAFTA nominations for Best Original Score for Joker. Her music to Todd Phillips’ dark psychological thriller, starring Joaquin Phoenix, scooped Best Original Score – Motion Picture at the Golden Globes, making her the first woman ever to win the coveted prize as solo composer. Hildur’s Joker soundtrack also emerged from a strong field to win the 25th annual Critics’ Choice Award for Best Score just days after securing Best Score at the Hollywood Critics Association Awards.

She was also a double-winner at the inaugural Society of Composers and Lyricists’ Awards, picking up Outstanding Original Score for a Studio Film (Joker) and Outstanding Original Score for Television or Streaming Production (Chernobyl). Hildur’s soundtrack for Chernobyl has also amassed a series of glittering prizes. In addition to her ground-breaking GRAMMY Award, she has also won an Emmy for her score to the HBO mini-series. She was named Television Composer of the Year at the 2019 World Soundtrack Awards in Ghent and is currently nominated in the Best Classical Artist category at this year’s Global Awards. Hildur will be giving a live performance of her Chernobyl soundtrack at the Betonhalle on 29 and 30 January as part of the CTM Festival, an event held annually in Berlin and dedicated to “Adventurous Music and Art”.

To celebrate the international acclaim and widespread creative impact of her work, Deutsche Grammophon has released Hildur Guðnadóttir’s earlier recordings under its own imprint. Her first two solo albums, Mount A and Without Sinking, were released on 10 January, as was Iridescence, an 11-minute extended-play single also featuring Jóhann Jóhannsson and Skúli Sverrisson. Her remaining two solo albums, Leyfðu Ljósinu (“Allow the Light”) and Saman (“Together”), were released a week later. The Yellow Label’s schedule further includes the release today of a new single and video for Fólk fær andlit (“People Get Faces”), a deeply moving track featuring her own vocals and inspired by the international refugee crisis.

Hildur Guðnadóttir is naturally delighted with the recognition her work is currently receiving, and aware of the opportunity it is giving her to speak out on behalf of female composers in general. “I’ve been doing film music for almost 20 years, so it’s been a long time coming,” she noted at the press conference following her Golden Globe win. “I don’t really know exactly what happened at this point for everything to explode so massively [for me] but it’s definitely been a beautiful year and incredible to get both of these opportunities at the same time. [Joker and Chernobyl] were so different and so all-encompassing.”

She went on to say that attitudes to women were changing for good within the film and TV business. “I’ve noticed a bit of wariness sometimes in the last decade or so to trust women for these bigger projects. But I believe that because of all the awareness that has been raised in the last couple of years about the position of women in the industry, I have benefited a lot.”

Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score

Congratulations to Hildur Guðnadóttir on her winning Best Original Score - Motion Picture for 'Joker' at the Golden Globe Awards in Los Angeles earlier this week. The smash hit HBO TV series 'Chernobyl', which Hildur also scored, and which score is also available on Deutsche Grammophon, picked up awards for Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television and Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television (Stellan Skarsgård).

Hildur Guðnadóttir releases her catalogue on Deutsche Grammophon

Following her recent signing to the label, award-winning composer, cellist and singer Hildur Guðnadóttir will also release her catalogue exclusively on Deutsche Grammophon. Her albums Mount A, Without Sinking and Iridescence will be released on 10 January 2020, while Leyfdu Ljosinu and Saman will be released on 17 January 2020.

Mount A

Originally released in 2006, Mount A is Hildur Guðnadóttir’s debut solo album. Its very personal, dreamlike music was recorded in New York and in an old monastery in Hólar, Iceland, specifically chosen for its acoustic qualities, perfect for the sounds of the cello. The title comes from the idea that recording your first solo album is comparable to reaching the summit of your first mountain, and also plays on the resemblance between the letter A and a snow-covered peak. Here Hildur plays all the instruments herself, including cello, viola da gamba, piano, vibraphone, zither and gamelan, creating an album that combines sweeping scope with emotional intimacy.

Without Sinking

Without Sinking is Hildur Guðnadóttir’s second solo album. Recorded in Berlin during the summer of 2008, it was inspired by the many flights she’d taken in the previous couple of years, and the long hours she’d spent watching the clouds while airborne. “I wanted to create music that was both spacious and dense. Still and moving at the same time. Like being above the weather.”

Unlike her one-woman debut, Mount A, Without Sinking features guest appearances from three fellow musicians – Jóhann Jóhannsson, bassist Skúli Sverrisson and Guðnadóttir’s father, clarinettist Guðni Franzson. It was mixed by Hildur herself together with Valgeir Sigurðsson at Greenhouse Studios in Iceland and mastered by Denis Blackham at Skye Mastering.


“Iridescence” is an addendum to Hildur’s wonderful Without Sinking album. This eleven-minute track gradually builds and swells, moving further and further into the electronic sphere as it grows. A study of shimmering light and changing colours, the aptly titled “Iridescence” is all about texture. A stunning and haunting piece, also featuring Jóhann Jóhannsson and Skúli Sverrisson, it was originally released in 2009.

Leyfdu Ljosinu

Hildur Guðnadóttir’s third solo album, Leyfðu Ljósinu – Icelandic for “Allow the light” – was recorded live, in a single take (without an audience), by Tony Myatt at the Music Research Centre, University of York, in January 2012.

Consisting of a single extended track, featuring cello, electronics and Hildur’s voice, the recording was not altered or edited in post-production.

The performance captured is rich and warm, and a testament to Hildur’s many skills as both performer and composer.


Combining Hildur’s cello-playing with her own vocals, Saman (“together” in Icelandic) is her fourth solo album. Recorded and produced in Berlin and originally released in 2014, it has a wistful beauty, with resonances both ancient and modern. Hildur’s voice blends so smoothly with her cello that it’s hard to tell where one ends and the other begins, a magical effect that makes Saman a unique and deeply moving album.


Berlin, Germany (October 11, 2019) – Deutsche Grammophon is thrilled to announce the exclusive signing of Emmy-winning composer, cellist and singer Hildur Guðnadóttir, hailed by the New York Times for her work’s “gravity and depth”. Her score to HBO’s award-winning drama Chernobyl, released by DG in May, has received widespread public and critical acclaim. She is also enjoying success with her equally game-changing soundtrack to Todd Phillips’ Joker – winner of the Golden Lion at this year’s Venice Film Festival.

(from left to right: Anusch Alimirzaie, A&R Manager New Repertoire; Clemens Trautmann, President Deutsche Grammophon; Hildur Guðnadóttir; Christian Badzura, Senior Director New Repertoire; Hans-Christian Lohs, Project Manager. Photo: © Stefan Höderath)

The Berlin-based Icelandic artist, whose soundtrack to Chernobyl scooped an Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Composition last month, first appeared on the Yellow Label in collaboration with the late Jóhann Jóhannsson and has also written for pianist Víkingur Ólafsson’s Bach Reworks album.

“There’s a real creative energy around Deutsche Grammophon,” says Hildur Guðnadóttir. “I love its passion for exploring new sounds and its understanding of the power of collaboration. So many of the borders that divided music into different genres, and kept composers and performers from crossing them, have been replaced by an openness to works which connect with the emotions that unite us all.”

“Hildur bursts with creativity and imagination,” says Dr Clemens Trautmann, President Deutsche Grammophon. “She transcends boundaries, as composer, cellist and singer. Anyone who’s heard her Chernobyl soundtrack or early works will know how groundbreaking her music is, and we’re delighted to welcome her to the Yellow Label.”

Deutsche Grammophon’s Senior Director New Repertoire, Christian Badzura, pays tribute to the expressive beauty of Guðnadóttir’s work. “Hildur’s music is personal yet universal at the same time. She shapes haunting images and atmospheres in sound, touching something deep within us all.”

Hildur Guðnadóttir was born in Reykjavík in 1982. She began playing cello as a child, continued her studies at the Reykjavík Music Academy and progressed to study composition and new media at the Iceland Academy of the Arts and Universität der Künste Berlin. Mount A (2006), her solo debut album, was followed by three other critically acclaimed releases, Without Sinking (2009), Leyfðu Ljósinu (2012) and Saman (2014).

Her list of works includes commissions for the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, the National Theatre of Iceland, Tate Modern, the British Film Institute, the Royal Swedish Opera and Gothenburg National Theatre. She has also performed and recorded with, among others, Skúli Sverrisson, Jóhann Jóhannsson, múm, Sunn O))), Pan Sonic, Hauschka, Wildbirds & Peacedrums, Ryuichi Sakamoto, David Sylvian, The Knife, Fever Ray and Throbbing Gristle.

Guðnadóttir was nominated for the Nordic Council Music Prize as Composer of the Year in 2014 and for a Discovery of the Year Award at the 2018 World Soundtrack Academy. Her fast-growing haul of prestigious prizes and awards includes the Asia Pacific Screen Award for Best Score (shared with Jóhann Jóhannsson for Mary Magdalene) and Best Score at the 2018 Beijing International Film Festival for Journey’s End. She is nominated for Best Television Composer of the Year at the 2019 World Soundtrack Awards which take place in Belgium later this month.


September 18, 2019: Composer, cellist and singer Hildur Guðnadóttir’s Chernobyl soundtrack has been awarded an EMMY for Outstanding Music Composition for a Limited Series, Movie or Special. Also nominated in her category for a Creative Arts EMMY were David Arnold (Good Omens), T Bone Burnett (True Detective), Kris Bowers (When They See Us) and Edward Shearmur (Escape at Dannemora). The ceremony took place at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, where the miniseries picked up a total of seven awards. Chernobyl has further nominations for next Sunday’s Primetime EMMY’s including Outstanding Limited Series.

Commenting on her success, Guðnadóttir said, “It’s been wonderful to follow the reactions to HBO’s Chernobyl miniseries over this summer. I recorded the building blocks for the soundtrack with field-recordist Chris Watson and score-producer Sam Slater at the Ignalina Power Plant in Lithuania, a decommissioned nuclear reactor in which the show was filmed. The vastness of the site directly influenced the score: ultimately no classical instruments were used, and instead the recordings were turned into music, where the only traditional instrumental element was my voice, which was subsequently processed using Impulse Responses recorded on the site. The show itself portrays the disaster with respect and realism, and I was adamant the score reflects this. I wanted to show the viewer how it would feel to be there, and to tell this story of fear, loss and, ultimately, human error.”

Guðnadóttir’s tense, eerie soundtrack plays an integral role in Chernobyl’s overwhelming, claustrophobic drama. The Berlin-based musician spent an entire day on the site in protective clothing prior to shooting, accompanied by Slater and Watson, a founding member of influential industrial music pioneers Cabaret Voltaire who’s also known for his work the past two decades on David Attenborough’s famed nature documentaries.

Deutsche Grammophon’s Senior Director New Repertoire, Christian Badzura, pays tribute to Guðnadóttir’s profound creative impact on the Chernobyl series. “Hildur has created such a hauntingly beautiful score, mostly based on field recordings,” he said. “The innovative and coherent musical language is so deeply interconnected with the moving picture, so that visuals and music become one aesthetic experience.” 

Guðnadóttir has composed a number of soundtracks over the past decade, most recently Todd Phillips’ Joker, which is due for worldwide release in October. She also wrote the score for last year’s Sicario: Day of the Soldado, the follow up to Denis Villeneuve’s 2015 masterpiece, Sicario, which was in turn scored by her friend and regular collaborator, the late Jóhann Jóhannsson. In addition, Guðnadóttir has worked with a further cast of renowned artists, including Nico Muhly, Ben Frost, The Knife, Sunn O))) and Hauschka.

Frank Briegmann, CEO & President Universal Music Central Europe and Deutsche Grammophon, congratulates Guðnadóttir on her EMMY win and praises her part in building Chernobyl’s realist drama. “Congratulations to Hildur for winning an EMMY. Her score for Chernobyl is of breathtaking intensity,” he noted. “With this work she has broken through the boundaries of her ‘home genre’, classical music, to enter new musical worlds. It’s an honour and a pleasure for me and the entire Deutsche Grammophon team to accompany Hildur in doing so.”