Gudmundur Hafsteinsson's music education began in the fall of 1969 with private piano lessons. Two years later he entered the Reykjavík College of Music, where he added harmony and counterpoint to his studies.
In the fall of 1977, Mr. Hafsteinsson went to New York City to study composition, and became a student of Charles Wuorinen. He entered the Juilliard School in 1979 as a student of Vincent Persichetti, and, additionally, studied conducting with David Gilbert during 1985-86. He completed the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in composition in 1986. As a graduate student at the Juilliard School, he was a recipient of the distinguished Irving Berlin Fellowship. Upon completion of his studies, Mr. Hafsteinsson served as an adjunct faculty member at the Juilliard School for two years.
In 1987, Gudmundur Hafsteinsson returned to Iceland and took up teaching harmony, counterpoint, ear training, twentieth-century analysis, and composition at the Reykjavík College of Music. During 1992-98 he served as a Chairman of the Department of Theory and Composition at the College.
Mr. Hafsteinsson's music has been performed in the USA, England, Sweden, Denmark and Holland, as well in Iceland, and he has participated in performances as a conductor, pianist and as a cimbalonist.