Penka Kouneva (Ph.D. Composition, 1997) composed seven tracks on Women Warriors: The Voices of Change, which won a 2022 GRAMMY for Best Classical Compendium.
In 2017, she was one of three inductees into the Duke Graduate School's Few-Glasson Alumni Society.
Kouneva composed music for NASA's "Heroes and Legends" exhibit. The $30M multimedia exhibit focuses on American astronauts at the Kennedy Space Center.
Film & game composer of “exquisite talent” (Prince of Persia: Forgotten Sands game co-composed with Steve Jablonsky), Penka Kouneva has worked for 15 years in Los Angeles on titles grossing $15 billion world-wide. Her own music is a blend of her Eastern-European upbringing, classical training, modern film & game music, and influences ranging from rock, electronica, Medieval chant to non-Western music. She has made Hollywood history (first woman Lead Orchestrator on films with budget over $100M - Ender’s Game and Elysium).
Penka has been honored with the Aaron Copland Award, SUNDANCE Composer Fellowship; Hollywood Music In Media Awards, Square Enix Music Online nomination, Independent Music Award; two Ovation Awards, The Visionary Award from Women’s International Film & TV Showcase, GRAND PRIX at the Tokyo Young Composers Competition, Meet the Composer Award, and numerous Artist Fellowships.