Jórunn Vidar graduated from the Reykjavik College of Music in 1936 where her main teacher was pianist Árni Kristjánsson. For the next two years she studied in Berlin at the Hochschule für Musik. She continued her studies at the Juilliard School of Music in New York during 1943-1945, studying composition with V. Giannini. In 1959 and 1960 she lived in Vienna, studying piano.
Jórunn Vidar’s songs hold a special place in the Icelandic art song repertoire, many characterized by an opening in a recitative style. Among her beloved songs are Únglíngurinn í skóginum ( The Youth in the Wood ), Við Kínafljót ( By China River ), Vort líf ( Our Life ), Þjóðvísa ( Folksong ), Gestaboð um nótt ( Invitation at Night ), Kall sat undir kletti (The Old Man and the Nymph ), Sönglað á göngu ( Singing while Strolling ), and the Christmas song Það á að gefa börnum brauð. Ms. Vidar´s larger scale works include the ballets, Fire and Ólafur Liljurós, and the piano concerto Slátta. She composed the first film music in Iceland to Síðasti bærinn í dalnum ( The last Farm in the Valley ), a movie by Óskar Gíslason.