Ana Ortiz Wienken is a Berklee College of Music alumni, graduated with a Magna Cum Laude in Film Scoring, Conducting and Music Production.
Her musical training developed at the Russian Conservatory Katarina Gurska of Madrid, in where she obtained a Magna Cum Laude degree in classical piano performance and contemporary composition.
She had the honor of assisting and working with award winning composers in relation with Warner Bros. Studios, Music & Motion Productions, Team Disney, Output, Velvet Green Music, Chroma Music for TV and Advertising and the Latin Grammy Scholarship Foundation.
Her signatura style is shown in her score soundtrack music, where Ana incorporates a fusion of classical orchestra and modern EDM and electronic sounds and beats. This fresh, innovative style is conceptualized by her sound design and production skills that takes her to the leading music position as musical director at studios at London, Manchester, Madrid and Caracas.
Where are you from?
My story is peculiar, as I was born in a small town in Romania, Iasi and then moved to Spain at a very early age. Surrounded by musical folklore from Romania to Spain, my passion for music comes from those exciting sounds and rhythms. This can explain my energetic characteristic and tone in my scores.
How long have you been making music?
I have been in the business for more than 15 years!
Luckily, I have always spent my free time in learning, staying up to date with any new musical trend or gear. I started playing violin and piano at 5 years old. I pursued my musical career at the Russian Conservancy “Katarina Gurska” of Madrid and once my Classical Piano Performance degree was achieved, I moved to Boston (USA) to achieve another music course, Film Scoring. I graduated with a Magna Cum Laude Degree in 2018.
It is also a delight and honor to mention that within my musical career, I have been surrounded by many amazing composers and producers from who I learned a lot about the industry and whom I truly admire.
Right now I am composing the soundtrack music for a new feature film with an amazing director and screenwriter who was nominated for the Oscars Awards and Cannes Film festival feat. Also I am preparing my newt project in London, where I will be working with the prestigious West Kensington Music Team and following, with the North Film Orchestra.
I will be imparting piano master classes, composing and conducting for two orchestras and producing a new Album. All this work I do it at one of my my studios in madrid, Spain and later, it will be done in London, UK. I have also booked two more journeys to Mexico, South Africa and finally and hopefully, USA.
How many songs /albums have you released to date?
I have been involved in the creation of many important soundtrack music such as Netflix Spanish Series, “ELITE”, the film “SMALLFOOT” and many more feature films and series.
I am also in the process of finishing up an upcoming album, “Bittersweet”, where I implement a fusion of modern music and the classical sound of the orchestra. It is a symphonic rap.
Can you tell us about your latest release and the background and inspirations behind it?
My latest release is named “Wolf”. A symphony dedicated to one of my former mentors of Berklee College of Music, Vuk Kulenovic. His inspirational insight to music has always been one of the power engines of my creation. Therefore, I have composed the symphony in his honor.
How have you ended up in the music industry?
Once I graduated from Berklee College of Music, I moved to Los Angeles and immediately started working under internships in label companies, like CHROMA, MUSIC & MOTION PRODUCTIONS and BACKYARD. Bit by bit, I kept exploring production companies and composers nearby and smoothly transitioned into higher leading music roles to finally reach to the point where I positioned as Music Director in BenPix and Little Angel Productions overseas. From those companies, i directed and composed the soundtrack music for the short film “SLAB”. This film has gained international acclaim and recognition as it has been presented at numerous festivals like “Los Angeles Cine Fest”, Wexford Film Festival”, “Bedford Film Festival”, “Comic Con” and “Bedford International Film Fest”.
What do you think of the music industry in 2020?
I see the industry as more evolving and flexible. As we get more in touch with the modern world of electronics, musicians will evolve to be a sort of ‘sound engineer’ and composer over sound frequencies ore than melodies. It is a beautiful perspective of evolution and change.. we get more powerful with time and technology.
Who do you think the most influential artist?
I think Rosalía is one of the most influential artists of the moment, as she promotes a message of feminism, power and equity in her music. She is unique as she also fused two contrasting music genres, Flamenco and Trap!
Who have you collaborated with so far in your career?
I have works with Academy award composers and producers in the creation of soundtrack scores for series like “Elite”, from Netflix, and many more from the label Warner Studios. Also, I have collaborated with lots of independent artists from different cultural background. I have met producers from Madagascar to Mexico. It is a beautiful variety of influences and styles.
How do you think you differ from other artists?
I work a lot into creating my own brand and unique sound. I make this through designing my own soundscapes and textures. As I implement a mixture of old and new, of organic and electronic, I end up with a new fresh sound that makes it easy to spot my style. Also, I like to enhance my scores with melodic and very emotional themes and details.
My aim is to keep developing new sounds, frequencies and instruments that change completely as well as they can eventually adapt to what we call today an “orchestra”.
I am more oriented in composing and creating from raw materials rather than developing a technical skill. Using the technique I learnt at my Russian conservatory, I fuse a certain style of performing with the new instrument, which ends in a vanguard style sound.
Dead or alive, who would be your dream collaboration?
My dream collaboration would be with artists like Rosalía or Ludovico Einaudi, his musical expression is unique and I love his neo – minimalism style. I love the fact that you can bring an audience to joy or tears just by using small details and the minimum orchestral arrangements. This sends a very good message for us all: We don’t need to strive for excess in order to impress! Also, this is one of the first composers to evolve with music and today’s technology and, just like I do, he implements electronic instruments and beats in his scores. He is a pioneer in music’s evolution and adaptation to the new technologies.
What was the first album you bought?
The First Album I bought was Adele’s first album she distributed.
What’s your favourite song at the moment?
At the moment, my favourite song is “PALO TO”. By the Dominican artist Angel Irizarry Almonte. An Amazing composer who implements his Afro Dominican roots in his compositions. It is a clash of colours and textures that bring you back to the essence and honor of the Island.
If you had to sell your music collection tomorrow, what album would you leave in your draw?
I would keep “El Mal Querer”, by Rosalia.
Do film and music go hand in hand? If yes, why?
– Yes. 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 psychologic, functional and emotional purpose in a film.
What is your favourite saying?
“Se hace país con gente que se la juega”. (A country is made by people who dares). I love this phrase, said by the actor “Antonio Banderas” in a Spanish program. It is very true! Many of us musicians are scared to be ourselves, go beyond or to experiment with new things as we face very harsh asepticism and criticism. however, we should be proud of who we are, and go beyond. Travel for adventures, Explore more with music and sound and even get to know each other better without etiquettes or judgement.
What other hobbies or interests do you have?
I dance, also I love museum visits and theatre. Any activity related with culture. I lurk for things that cultivate and feed my curiosity. There is always space to learn something new! Photography and videography are also activities o my hobbies bucket list. Any form of art that engages expression in an original way is something I always aim for.
Do you have any tattoos or piercings?
No, too scared for those! Needles scare me
Do you dedicate your life to music? How do you support yourself? Is it hard?
I do dedicate my life to music entirely. In all manners and forms. I principally work a s a film score composer. So, this means that I compose the soundtrack music of the film. I also composer for musicals and theatre pieces. I love to be flexible and experiment around the employment option within my field, therefore I also produce music for other artists, I work as composer’s assistant, studios assistant and manager and even orchestrator. As I do many volunteer musical work for ONGs and institutions with children in need, I like to have a small side job that involves in music and movement or music therapy. With this, I can save a good percentage of economic income and then, invest it in positive and social projects as well as in my own studio gear. I designed my economic income to be in a sort of a productive cycle. It can be challenging just to manage my agenda and get to work in so many things simultaneously. But with a good agenda organisation and my goals on perspective, I can support myself with my music.
It looks like you dominate the recording aspect of music, what programs do you use?
I use Digital Performer to score for film and Protools to edit and mix/master my scores. Sometimes, when the film I get is oriented into a more gloomy and futuristic note, I tend to use Logic, as it matches perfectly with the design patches I create. I am trained as well in Cubase, Reason and Ableton. As a composer, I keep myself as most flexible as I can since many production companies I work with, manage different DAWs.
What is your advice to aspiring musicians who are finding it hard to self-sustain financially.
To young aspiring musicians who are at an early stage into the music industry, I recommend them to have as well a side job to save as much money they can to later invest a percentage of it in their music, another percentage for rent and utilities, and finally the remaining percentage for possible upcoming emergencies.
Tell us more about your upcoming project or this new project?
Within my company, we are also very active in fighting against bullying through music! This will be seen in our upcoming produced Album, “Bittersweet”. It is an album with lots of positivity messages and has an internal story in a chronological order. Also, the style is a mixture of pop, electronic and orchestral.
What’s in the pipeline after this project?
My goals in life is to keep working in music and keep helping others with it. As I have my own production company, part of their job has a volunteer sector in which, as mentioned, it focuses and collaborates with institutions with children in need. Music is a safety bubble and through it, they can also express themselves peacefully. This vulnerable sector of society are an easy target for negative and destructive elements like drugs, bad influences and hate. Music is a shield against all that. Music is inclusive, embraceful and global. I aspire to help people in need with music, to motivate them and change the society.
Thank you for your time and may you carry on making great, fresh music.
Thank you very much for the interview, and it has been a delight to share with you and your community an insight into the music industry!