Penka Kouneva is a Hollywood film composer blending her native Eastern-European influences with modern orchestra, Medieval chant, rock, and electronica. To date, she has scored 9 independent features, 4 television films for the SciFi channel, and episodic shows on cable TV. These include the slasher Midnight Movie, crime dramas The Third Nail and Richard III (starring David Carradine), family western The Connecticut Kid, sci-fi political suspense film November, four action-adventures for the SciFi Channel (including Ice Spiders), psychological thriller Dorian Gray (starring Josh Duhamel), and additional music for Forensic Files on CourtTV, Dog Fights and Modern Marvels on The History Channel. Penka has also scored five documentaries, including the environmentalist film Florida Keys
In addition to scoring, Penka is a busy orchestrator on studio films, including Transformers, Pirates 3, Hostel I and II, Matrix 2, 3, Enter the Matrix, Lizzie Maguire Movie, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, and on film trailers for the two biggest trailer houses in LA. Among her mentors, she is most indebted to Cliff Eidelman (who recommended her for three crucial scoring assignments), and to Bruce Fowler, Patrick Williams and Lee Holdridge.
Penka has been honored with WorldFest's Platinum Remi for Best Score, the Aaron Copland Award and the prestigious Sundance Composer Fellowship. Her scoring demonstrates a broad creative range and stylistic versatility including drama, crime, family, horror, thriller, action-adventure, sci-fi, and period stories. Penka's music possesses a timbre of its own: emotive, haunting and soulful.
Penka was born and raised in Bulgaria, started piano lessons at 6 and wrote incidental music for children’s theater show at 12. Before arriving in Hollywood, Penka enjoyed a successful career as a classical concert composer and composer for theatrical productions. Her orchestral works won prestigious awards including Meet the Composer Fellowship, three Aspen Festival Awards, North Carolina Artist Fellowship, etc. She received Doctorate in composition at Duke University where she studied with Stephen Jaffe and with the Dutch postmodern minimalist Louis Andriessen.
Motion Pictures – Orchestrator / Music Arranger
Marked with asterisk (*) = Lead orchestrator, booth reader, score producer, liaison, consultant, and leader of Kouneva's own Music Prep Team
Not marked = team orchestrator
Pirates of the Carribean: At World's End
* Hostel: Part II
Transformers the Movie
* Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
* Dragon Wars
* When Nietzsche Wept
Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles
* The Lizzie McGuire Movie
* Sexual Life
* Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
The Matrix Reloaded
The Matrix Revolutions
Once Upon A Time in Mexico
* Stuart Little 3: Call of the Wild
* The Last Confederate: The Story of Robert Adams
* Harrison's Flowers
Behind Enemy Lines
Brother Bear (Vocal Arranger)
The Haunted Mansion (Vocal Arranger)
* The Abandoned
* La Hora Fria
Angels And Demons
Lead Orchestrator / Music Arranger / Leader of Music Prep Team on all listed (selected projects)
Curse of the Ring
Beat the Drum
The Thin Blue Line
Shake, Rattle and Roll: An American Love Story
Take My Advice: The Ann and Abby Story
Murder on Shadow Mountain
Too Rich: The Secret Life of Doris Duke
Co-Composer and “Additional Score By” (working with another composer’s Main theme)
Transformers 2: Revenge Of The Fallen
Prince Of Persia: Sands Of Time 2010
Butterfly Effect 3: Revelation
Enter the Matrix
Prince of Persia
Gears of War 3
Motion Picture Trailers
Orchestrator / co-composer / music consultant for the two leading trailer companies in LA — Immediate Music (since 2003) and X-Ray Dog (since 2007) on trailers for 110-piece orchestra plus choir.
Penka Kouneva's trailers and orchestrations have been used for: Pirates of the Caribbean 3, The Aviator, Chronicles of Narnia, Van Helsing, Hannibal Rising, and countless other studio blockbusters.
Kouneva usually gets the most bombastic, loudest and note-iest trailers to orchestrate.
Acknowledgement of Ms. Kouneva’s Work
“… intelligence, spirit, soul, and passion …. brilliant.“
“…superbly talented composer”
“… brought the film to a whole new level”
“… the end result was indeed a masterpiece, deftly and powerfully augmenting each scene.”
Awards And Recognitions (selected)
Sundance Film Scoring Fellowship (2001); Panelist/Mentor at 2008 Sundance Independent Producers Conference ASCAP Film Scoring Workshop
Platinum Remi, for Best Score (for Richard III, a feature film)
STEEL: John Henry and the Shaker, An Original Blues Musical (Two Ovation Awards, Seven Ovation Nominations) Grand Prix for Songwriters Under 18, World Music Festival, Tokyo
Aaron Copland Award and Residency, Meet the Composer Fellowship
The Official Penka Kouneva Website
CEO at WorldSound Productions, Inc.
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