Haukur Tómasson was born in Iceland in 1960. He studied composition at the Cologne Conservatory with Joachim Blume and later with Ton de Leeuw at the Sweelinck Conservatory (1986–7) and at the University of California, San Diego, with Brian Ferneyhough and Roger Reynolds. Tómasson has lived in Iceland since 1990 and devotes himself entirely to composition. His works have been widely performed to great public and critical acclaim. Many of his major works are available on CD.
The music of Haukur Tómasson is vibrant and scintillating, characterized by intense rhythmic activity, bright, colorful timbres, and a keen ear for novel and effective instrumental combinations. His music bustles with energy and is often quite complex, although the rapidly moving surface rhythm occasionally comes to a halt, giving way to slowly moving sonorities of imposing power and austere beauty.
Tómasson´s earliest compositions use the numbers of the Fibonacci series to organize durations, intervals and formal proportions (Octette, Eco del passato). His later works (Spiral, Strati, Offspring) are examples of the composer’s ‘spiral technique’, the chaconne-like development of an underlying chord progression. In the late 1990s Tómasson also began using Icelandic folk material as a basis for his compositions (Rhyme, Long Shadow). Tómasson´s interest in form and structure is evident in all his works, lending them a clear underlying sense of unity and logic.
Haukur Tómasson was awarded the 2004 Nordic Council Music Prize for his chamber opera Gudrún´s 4th Song.