Composer Spotlight #1 – Ana Ortiz Wienken
Updated: Sep 11, 2020
Today we have the first in our “Composer Spotlight” series, where we talk with emerging film composers from across the globe about their musical background, and how they got into the industry.
Composer Ana Ortiz Wienken has been giving her "voice" to film since 2018. She has had the honour of working for companies related to big label studios such as Warner, Velvet Green Productions, Chroma, Output and Music and Motion Productions.
Her passion for music began at 5 years old with the violin and the piano, eventually studying under the concertmaster and pianist Yuri Annaniev at Katarina Gurska Conservatory of Madrid. Upon graduating, Ms. Ana Ortiz Wienken moved to Boston, (USA) to further her studies at the recognized Berklee College of Music, obtaining a Magna Cum Laude degree in Film Scoring, Conducting, Music production and Liberal Arts.
Her unique sound comes from a combination of a carefully crafted sound design along with a classical based original orchestration, in which she combines the organic sounds with electronic drones, note embellishments and arpeggios. She is one of the few composers who also works with vibration, overtones and frequencies.
"I like to create an unforgettable effect on the audience. I want them to 'feel the score' rather than to just listen to it. With this, we result in double the excitement and engage in the film". - Ana Ortiz Wienken.
How does your heritage influence your music?
I have a mixed heritage: Romanian and Spanish, and this amazing mixture results in a very folkloric and colourful musical style. My scores are very characteristic for their big and dense arrangements and the use of ethnic and rare instruments. I like to take the classical organic sound of what we know as "the orchestra" and fuse it with electronic drones and sound designed patterns that are crafted in my DAW. This unique combination creates a very positive impact in the film, as the score is presented as fresh and innovative. Every time I have a new project, I also like to add a little hint or flavour evoking the time and place of the film. I really like to guide the audience and submerge them into the film's atmosphere. Here you can see an example of what a folkloric and mixed orchestra may sound like. Film and Music go together as both industries manage and control emotions and work as a tool for expression, either a feeling, an idea or a dream. It is hard to have a film without any piece of music in it. It ends up as dry. Music is the spice that all dishes need. The soundtrack music is the power engine of the film; it underlines the plot, highlights characters and foreshadows details as well. Music has a psychological, functional and emotional purpose in a film.
How would you describe your experience of working at Warner?
I was very lucky to have the opportunity to learn from Warner Studios Producers and Composers. My work in there began as a learning experience course and gradually levelled up into working and assisting more in depth and with more closure with the studio composers and artists. I have been exposed to incredible recording sessions holding a massive number of instruments and also learned the importance of technology and music. More composers are being known as we keep acknowledging the importance of another significant factor of the composer's music: Their cultural background! Culture and roots play a very significant role in this industry. It has also shaped my manner of working and compositional organization.
How do you deal with stress/ keep healthy?
I really like to keep myself busy and spend most of my time either learning or being productive. I am a very active person therefore some of my activities are related to body movement and mind training. When I am not composing, I usually teach piano, composition and music production at London's music academy WKMT. I also love to dance, swim and design new paintings.
Cinema is entering a new era, with all the competition from games and streaming - How do you think this will affect film music?
I think this will have a very positive impact to the industry, as within the high rate of demand, many more composers and audience will be driven by its natural magnet of inspiration. Music is one of the most powerful sources of communication, as it is also a global language, therefore I calculate that there will be more workflow of musical talents.
What is an instrument you would love to write for?
I would love to write for more ethnical instruments like, the Kora. I find African instruments the most stunning and fascinating as well as the Sitar and many more classical Indian instruments. Since at this other side of the world, they work with different tuning system, we can end up fusing the best of both worlds and creating a more unique and clashing sound. As mentioned before, I love to experiment with sound, I even create my own sound and electronic instruments that most of the time I tray to work them out to sound as similar as possible to these desired instruments I wish to compose for.
You can find out more about Ana and her work here: https://www.ana-ortiz-wienken.com/
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