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.
Although he did complete his guitar studies, his mind was always set on composing rather than performing. He finished a BMus in composition from Reykjavik Collage of Music in 2001 where he studied 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. He finished a Masters degree from there in 2005 before finishing a second Masters degree in electronic and computer music from the Sonology Institute in The Hague, The Netherlands, in 2007. He moved back to Denmark in 2007 with his long term girlfriend and now wife, baroque cellist and Viola da Gamba player Hanna Loftsdóttir. They have two daughters, born in 2008 and 2013.
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.