18 SEPTEMBER 2019 (TORONTO, ON) - 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.”