Hörður Áskelsson was born in Akureyri in the north of Iceland in 1953. He studied music in Akureyri and Reykjavík, before moving to Düsseldorf, Germany, in 1976 to study at the Robert Schumann Hochschule.
He graduated as organist and cantor in 1981 summa cum laude. After a year as organist at the Neanderkirche in Düsseldorf, Áskelsson moved to Reykjavík, where he was organist and cantor at the Hallgrímskirkja from 1982 to 2021. In 1982, he founded the Hallgrímskirkja Motet Choir and was the initiator of the founding of the Friends of the Arts Society of Hallgrímskirkja (now Friends of the Arts Society of Reykjavík). In 1987, he established the Festival of Sacred Arts, a biannual event on the cultural scene in Iceland for more than 30 years. In 1993, Áskelsson founded the Summer Organ concert series in Hallgrímskirkja and in 1996, he founded the chamber choir Schola Cantorum, one of Iceland’s most distinguished choirs.
Hörður Áskelsson has received much recognition, and with his choirs he has participated in various festivals and international competitions, receiving many prizes. He has conducted many oratorios, often with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the Reykjavík International Baroque Orchestra, and has premièred numerous Icelandic compositions. His performances have been recorded for radio and television and issued on several CDs. Hörður Áskelsson has also served as teacher of the organ and choir conducting at the Iceland National Church’s Music School, and from 1985 to 1995 he was lecturer of liturgical music at the University of Iceland. In the year 2000, Áskelsson was music director of the events held to celebrate one thousand years of Christianity in Iceland.
In 2002, he received the Icelandic Music Prize and the Culture Prize of the Reykjavík daily DV for his outstanding activities in the year 2001. He was appointed Municipal Artist of the City of Reykjavík in 2002 and received the Knight’s Cross of the Icelandic Order of the Falcon in 2004. In the years 2005 to 2011, Hörður Áskelsson was Church Music Director of the National Church of Iceland.
Hörður and his choirs have been nominated for the Icelandic Music Prize many times. In 2017, he won the prize for Performer of the Year with his chamber choir Schola Cantorum and in March 2022, he won the prize with the Motet Choir.