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Chernobyl Composer Wins 2020 Grammy

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The five-part show Chernobyl, on HBO, is based on the book “Voices from Chernobyl” written by Svetlana Alexievich, a Belarusian journalist. The disaster took place in 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, near the city of Pripyat in the north of the Ukrainian SSR. The book gives accounts of the survivors of the nuclear reactor accident. The author is a Nobel laureate and the book won the National Book Critics Circle Award. Chernobyl, the series, in total won 44 awards, and 44 nominations, which include Emmy, Golden Globe, and Grammy. The 62nd Grammy Awards which were held on January 26, 2020, gave Chernobyl’s composer Hildur Guðnadóttir, the award for Best Score Soundtrack.

Hildur Guðnadóttir has made Grammy history as the first solo female composer to win in the award’s 62-year history. She also received her first Emmy nomination for Outstanding Music Composition for a Limited Series. Hildur Guðnadóttir is an Icelandic singer, choral music arranger, composer, and a classically-trained cellist. Her famous scores (compositions) have appeared in numerous Danish films as well as the movies Mary Magdalene and Joker. Apart from that, she has worked with many Scandinavian bands and released a solo album in 2006.

Chernobyl soundtrack’s making

In order to compose the Chernobyl series soundtrack, she visited the set, which is a decommissioned plant in Lithuania. Along with a field recording engineer she captured field recordings of the power plant’s pumps, reactors, and turbines. The unique soundtrack which won numerous awards features these sounds from the power plant, to make it real and life-like. In her interview with Score: The Podcast, she goes on and says..

It’s such a complicated story to tell. How does that sound? Like [what] does a catastrophe really feel like and how does it sound… We associate certain sounds of a nuclear disaster and those emitters, but there are so many other sounds that are there that were just so interesting to observe.

Hildur Guðnadóttir has also received an Oscar nomination this year for her Joker score. Her long list of awards includes a Golden Globe for Joker as well. She is the first-ever woman to win a Golden Globe, as the sole composer of a score in 19 years.

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