(co-composer) (additional cues) (additional arrangements) (composer) (composer)


- Three Master Classes -


Penka Kouneva Studios proudly presents THREE MASTER CLASSES
designed for early-career and aspiring media composers, orchestrators, composer assistants, interns, and all interested.

ORCHESTRATION from MIDI transcriptions
FEBRUARY 16, Sat., 2-6 PM,
at the Courtyard-Marriott (Brentwood Conference Room),
15433 Ventura Blvd at Hwy 405, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

  • procedures for flawless scores from MIDI
  • work flow
  • rethinking the MIDI for live ensemble
  • orchestration techniques
  • review of orchestrations submitted by attendees

MARCH 2, Sat., 10-1 PM,
BMI (Conference Room),
8730 Sunset Blvd, 3rd Floor West, Los Angeles, CA 90069
Sponsored by BMI
"Demo derby" format: CD playing and instant feedback - limited to 25 people

CULTIVATING A CAREER for media composers
MARCH 9, Sat., 2-6 PM,
at the Courtyard-Marriott (Brentwood Conference Room),
15433 Ventura Blvd at Hwy 405, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

  • professional skill set
  • patterns of building a career
  • finding one's individual voice
  • getting a job
  • vital career skills

The cost is $70 per Master Class (including all class materials).
Questions: kouneva@ca.rr.com
Click Here To Register:

© Master Class Description:

Orchestration and MIDI Transcription: This 4-hour Master Class will examine the workflow, challenges, and procedures of a media orchestrator in Hollywood. It will demonstrate the skill set required for transcribing MIDI mock-ups into a Finale or Sibelius score, be it for 5 instruments or 125. We will examine error-free MIDI transcription procedures, orchestration techniques (balance, voicing, mass, texture, re-thinking the MIDI); and differences in orchestrating for film, TV, trailers, or video games. Attendees’ orchestrations (PDF) will be reviewed in the last hour. Intended Audience: early- and mid-career composer assistants, orchestrators. A zipped Folder of MIDI files, scores, list of textbooks, methodologies for score analysis and study materials will be given to attendees.

Critique of Your Media Scoring Demo: This 4-hour listening and “instant feedback” session will examine everything you must know about making powerful, result-oriented demos. 25 CDs (4 minutes of your best music, on a CD) will be played anonymously in front of all attendees. Dr. Kouneva will offer constructive suggestions and authentic criticism. You will understand how directors, producers, reviewers, music supervisors, other composers “hear” and perceive your demo. During her 14 years in Hollywood Penka has heard over 2500 demo CDs by aspiring and working composers and has observed how directors and producers listen to, and respond to composers’ pitches. Intended Audience: early- and mid-career media composers, recent graduates, and any composer who wishes to learn about pitching for a job.

Cultivating a Career as a Media Composer: This 4-hour Master class will examine: (1) the skill sets and the patterns of cultivating a film/TV/video game scoring career; (2) some artist growth opportunities (Sundance Composers Lab sponsored by BMI; SCL Mentor Program, and others) and crafting a fine-tuned application; (3) vital career skills for young professionals: your demo, resume, 30-second pitch, cover letter, attitudes, expectations, research, fostering relationships. The core career questions (how do I find my individual artistic voice, how do I get a scoring gig, and how do I get to the next level) will be addressed. Intended Audience: early- and mid-career media composers and recent graduates. A zipped Folder of handouts, research and study materials, list of books, links and resources will be given to attendees.


Penka Kouneva is an award-winning composer and ace orchestrator for film, TV, video games and trailers. Composing credits: "Prince of Persia: Forgotten Sands" game and additional score on "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" game (alongside Steve Jablonsky); "Midnight Movie," independent features, episodic TV, trailers.

Lead Orchestrator: Gears of War 2, 3, Transformers games, Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium, Tim Burton's "9" and on top TV shows (ABC's Revenge, Perception, HBO's True Blood). Penka has orchestrated on Transformers, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Matrix franchises, on Sherlock Holmes, Angels and Demons, on Blizzard games (World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III) and on hundreds of films. In 1999 Penka arrived in Hollywood with one computer and one contact. Over the last decade, she worked on films and games grossing $9 billion. As an extraordinary mentor and lead orchestrator Penka has been instrumental in nurturing the careers of many rising talents. A member of BMI since 1993, Penka is a Sundance Composer Fellow & advisor, and winner of Ovation, Remi, HMMA and other awards. Since 2006 she has employed, mentored and created opportunities for a number of young composers in Hollywood. Penka received the first-ever Doctorate degree in Composition from Duke University.

Click Here To Register:


NEWS - October '2012

-- A WARRIOR'S ODYSSEY - an Instrumental Album - released on October 2, 2012 on www.howlinwolfrecords.com
This concept album features 18 original action, drama and fantasy themes recorded with A-list Hollywood musicians. Preview samples from the album are available here:

The album has received many endorsements by veteran film, game and TV composers calling it "fantastic," "a triumph," "remarkable," "passionate…."

Press Release


NEWS - October '2011

-- GEARS OF WAR 3 video game (Epic/Microsoft) – composed additional cues and supervised the score production, working with Steve Jablonsky

-- A4 fantasy video game (AniPark Studios, Korea) – composed additional cues and supervised the score production, working with Steve Jablonsky

-- TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON film -- created custom arrangements for Steve Jablonksy

-- NIGHT OVER ERZINGA, by Adriana Sevahn Nichols -- composed original theater music for this family-epic play.

Says Adriana:Your music is phenomenal, gorgeous, so full of heart and beauty, and so much more personal then I ever dreamed. MY JUBILANT and EXUBERANT THANKS!

-- MODERN DRAMA TRAILERS – composed for X-Ray Dog Music, a leading trailer music company

-- PLAY FOR JAPAN BENEFIT ALBUM - donated an original composition, WHITE CLOUD (vocal performance by Ayana Haviv) (available on iTunes)

-- WORLD OF WARCRAFT: Mists of Pandaria (Blizzard Entertainment) – orchestrated for Neal Acree

-- STARCRAFT II: Heart of the Swarm (Blizzard Entertainment) - orchestrated for Neal Acree

-- DIABLO III (Blizzard Entertainment) – orchestrated for Neal Acree

-- TRUE BLOOD, Season 4 (HBO) – orchestrated for Nathan Barr

-- REVENGE and PERCEPTION – orchestrated on two ABC prime-time drama shows

-- orchestrated for Police's Steward Copeland on a 2-hour arena show "Ben Hur Live" produced in Europe

-- A SYMPHONY OF HOPE, benefit CD for Haiti earthquake relief - orchestrated for Nathan Barr


NEWS - July '2010

-- co-composed 2 hours of game score for "PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE FORGOTTEN SANDS" video game working alongside Steve Jablonsky. Penka is deeply grateful to Steve for this fantastic opportunity. The score has received critical acclaim and has been called "a rousing orchestrated soundtrack (the best ... heard in years)," "sweeping and exotic soundtrack." Penka is also grateful to her collaborator composer Chris Lord who produced the percussion and electronics on the POP score.

-- Original Soundtrack CD Release - "Midnight Movie" available from Howlin' Wolf Records, with a 16-page booklet and a newly composed cues for The Director's Cut (December'10 release). The music was called "great horror score..." "with plenty of mystery and suspense as well as menacing action ..."

-- completing original scores for two independent films: drama-romance "ROUGH HUSTLE" and crime-mystery "REJOUER"

-- orchestrated "Admiral Nimitz Suite" for composer Justin R. Durban, a large-scale orchestral score for The National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, TX

-- orchestrated on "World of WarCraft: Cataclysm" game for Blizzard's contributing composer Neal Acree

-- notated and arranged "True Blood Suite" for composer Nathan Barr for a concert performance in Ubeda, Spain

-- orchestrated the "Sims 3" game extension packets for composer Steve Jablonsky

-- orchestrated on "StarCraft II" game for Blizzard's contributing composer Neal Acree


NEWS - March '09

-- composed additional cues for TRANSFORMERS 2: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN videogame working alongside the Transformers composer Steve Jablonsky. Penka is grateful to Steve for his musical guidance and this amazing opportunity.

-- composed rock-orchestral music for the trailer for ROUGH HUSTLE. Scoring of the this indie drama feature about card counters in Vegas will take place in 2009. Penka collaborated with rock producer-guitarist Tim Acres on the trailer and is excited to work together on the future score with Tim.

-- composed additional score cues for the sci-fi horror feature BUTTERFLY EFFECT 3: REVELATIONS working alongside composer Adam Balazs

-- composed horror-supernatural trailers for X-RAY DOG's latest library of trailer music

-- Lead-orchestrated NINE, a fantasy animated feature produced by Tim Burton and scored by Deborah Lurie. Penka met Deborah at Aspen Music Festival in the early 1990's.

-- orchestrated cues on ANGELS AND DEMONS directed by Ron Howard and scored by Hans Zimmer

-- Penka was invited as an Advisor for the 2008 Sundance Composers Lab (being a Lab Fellow herself in 2001) and also was a Panelist for the Sundance Independent Producers Conference.








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