We’re thrilled to welcome special guest Penka Kouneva back to our LA Ravel! After joining us for our score study of the Holst Planets where we looked at the Uranus movement, Penka now shares her an in-depth first look at her album, Rebirth of Id. This is a special opportunity to learn about the work and career of the woman who has taken the industry by storm! Penka also discusses the use of form and thematic development in composition and orchestration. This session is moderated by ASA Vice-President Reuven Herman.
About Penka Kouneva
Composer Penka Kouneva is known as an exceptional talent and “an artist of uncommon passion” (NPR). Her scoring credits include the games Prince of Persia and Transformers, The Mummy VR game, mobile games (Chime Sharp, Cookie Jam 2, Mayhem), VR experiences (Hades) and feature films (Sony Pictures’ Devil’s Whisper). Penka also composed for the American Astronauts on a $30M NASA exhibit Heroes and Legends, permanently housed at the Kennedy Space Center. Her score for its 3D films and AR installations was recorded with large orchestra. Her stand-alone artist CDs have been released on Varese Sarabande (The Woman Astronaut, Rebirth of Id). Penka is a winner of the Sundance Composer Fellowship, Game Audio Network Guild’s 2015 Recognition Award and other honors. She is passionate about innovation, storytelling, and mentoring.
A note from Penka:
“Having listened to thousands of demos, I have found that many composers don’t use musical forms efficiently to create memorable compositions of any length. Often, the music is too meandering, or the form is approached in an overly repetitive and mechanical way. Media composers with command of form are able to create powerful emotional arcs and dramatic storytelling arcs. Having a great command of various forms gives composers fluency and makes their music masterful.”
We discuss a few forms that are most relevant for media composers:
* Repetition with variations/thematic development/increasing intensity
* Song forms: (e.g., AABA, verse-chorus)
* Passacaglia (practically every single Hans Zimmer theme)
* Through-composed form
About Rebirth of Id on Varese Sarabande
Rebirth of Id is a full-length orchestral album. It contains four tone poems (Penka defines them as “EPs”), each telling its own story in a different genre. The structure of this exciting new work breaks the mold of her previous full-length concept albums. The first EP (futuristic Sci-Fi dystopia) tells the story of a young woman leader in a land suffering from severe drought. We shift to a traditional orchestral style for the second EP, music appropriate for a period piece or war drama. The third section of the album is music for a supernatural romantic thriller; four compositions all based on the same theme tell a story of time-travel by way of a Virtual Reality device. The fourth and final EP features diverse musical styles unified by Penka’s command of the hybrid orchestral approach to cinematic fantasy. All the EPs contained in Rebirth of Id address Penka’s central quest for artistic growth by musically illustrating the concepts of life, death, love, duty, perseverance and destiny.