Penka Kouneva’s groundbreaking cinematic album“The Rebirth of Id” tackles political, environmental and feminist themes
Award-winning film and video game composer Penka Kouneva (Prince of Persia Forgotten Sands, The Mummy VR game, NASA Heroes and Legends) releases her much anticipated orchestral album The Rebirth of Id through Hollywood film soundtrack label Varése Sarabande. An original concept album composed in a cinematic style that is a fusion of symphonic music and electronica, The Rebirth of Id is the follow-up to Kouneva’s critically acclaimed orchestral CD, The Woman Astronaut (also released on Universal Music Group).
The Rebirth of Id consists of four mini-soundtracks telling four original, unrelated stories that feature female protagonists. The first story (in futuristic Sci-Fi dystopia genre) features a woman leader rising in a land that has experienced severe drought and political cataclysm. The second story (a period drama) poses the question of why Clara Schumann, a 19th-century composer prodigy, declared that “women should not compose.” In the third story (supernatural thriller) a woman is using VR device to travel back in time. The CD closes with Trains to Moscone, Penka’s love letter to the game industry inspired by her own journey on the BART trains to the Game Developers Conference, and her rise as a leader in game audio. Mirroring her own tenacity and sustained drive to overcome challenges and pursue her aspirations as an artist, Penka said, “The Rebirth of Id” tells modern stories about self-determined women.”
Kouneva composed her album at the level of a studio soundtrack. It was produced with Sofia Symphony Orchestra and top soloists, including the violinists Lili Haydn (a performer for Led Zeppelin and Pharrell Williams) and the cellist Tina Guo (Michael Jackson–The Immortal and Hans Zimmer Live tours). The album was co-produced by Christopher Lord and Victor Rodriguez, and recorded and mixed by John Rodd.
Varése Sarabande, founded in 1972 is the biggest soundtrack label with 4800 releases to-date, and the home of iconic film composers such as Ennio Morricone, Bernard Herrmann and Hans Zimmer.
Penka Kouneva is a composer for films (Aga, Berlin Film Festival’18; Devil’s Whisper on Sony Pictures) and video games (Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on the composing team of Steve Jablonsky). She is also known as a leading composer in emerging media (The Mummy VR game, a $30M multimedia NASA exhibit Heroes and Legends permanently located at the Kennedy Space Center). Her music has received worldwide acclaim as “fantastic” (Billboard), “luminous” (Forbes), “breath-taking music of deepest beauty” (NPR). Women composers score 2% of the top 250 theatrical features annually. Penka has made substantial contributions across three fields of entertainment – film, video games and emerging technology.
In addition to composing, Penka has made Hollywood history as Lead Arranger / soundtrack producer on blockbusters and top franchises – the first woman lead arranger since Shirley Walker in the 80’s. Her credits include the films Transformers, Ender’s Game, Ninja Turtles, Elysium and the games Gears of War 2, 3, Overwatch, World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Dragon War, Diablo III, Bloodborne.
A Sundance Composer Fellow, Penka is also a Duke University Distinguished Alumna and the recipient of Game Audio Network Guild’s 2015 Recognition Award, two Ovation Awards, the Aaron Copland Award, Meet the Composer Fellowship, and 2014 Hollywood Music In Media Award. Penka was born and raised in Bulgaria, received Duke scholarship and arrived to US with $150 in her pocket to make a life for herself as a composer. She became Duke’s first-ever Ph.D. in composition and subsequently arrived to Los Angeles with one contact and little savings to pursue her dream of becoming a film composer. A “luminous talent” and role model on the vanguard of the rising momentum for creative women, Penka Kouneva’s The Rebirth of Id is her most ambitious work yet.
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