Elín Gunnlaugsdóttir began her musical studies at the age of nine with the piano. She later studied at the Reykjavík College of Music where she graduated with a Diploma in Music Education in 1987 and a Diploma in Composition in 1993. Her teachers in composition were Thorkell Sigurbjörnsson (b. 1938), Hródmar Ingi Sigurbjörnsson (b. 1958) and Gudmundur Hafsteinsson (b. 1953). Postgraduate studies took her to the Netherlands where she studied for two years composition with Theo Loevendie and Diderik Wagenaar at the Royal Conservatory in Den Haag and graduated in 1998.
Currently living in Selfoss, a small village east of Reykjavík, Elín Gunnlaugsdóttir has been active as a music teacher, conductor and a composer but her catalogue contains well over 20 compositions. She has composed chamber music, pieces for solo instruments (recorder, clarinet, harpsichord and bass clarinet) and many vocal compositions. Choral music is also of great importance in Gunnlaugsdóttir´s list of compositions, (she is a trained singer and an active participant in choirs as well as a chorister) and she has made many arrangements of Icelandic folk songs, recently discovered in old Icelandic manuscripts.