From Composer to Soprano Singer, Marina Ortega Mira Delves Into The Journey of Her Career to Date, Including Receiving The Fulbright Award
Only a few people can add film, tv, and video game composer, as well as soprano singer to their list of talents. Well, Marina Ortega Mira can.
Hailing from Alicante, Spain, Marina was the recipient of the 2022 ASCAP Harold Film & TV Award. In 2020 she received the prestigious Fulbright Award.
Her composing career has seen her assist composer Paul Leonard-Morgan (Cyberpunk 2077, Limitless, Tales from the Loop).
Before her career took off and she collected numerous awards, Marina studied classical piano and lyrical singing in the conservatory and her music composition undergrad at the ESMUC of Barcelona and the Sibelius Academy of Helsinki. Following this, Marina undertook a master’s in the Screen Scoring program at USC.
In love with world music, Marina focuses on making each piece stand out with its own light without generating a homogeneous catalog. As a result, she is constantly researching various fusions of compositional processes, often drawing inspiration from textures and sounds from different cultures.
Stand out indeed, as some of Marina’s projects relate to artificial intelligence and algorithmic music research. For example, her “Keys to Cancer” project for the Roche Foundation Medicine in Helsinki. Here she created a musical piece based on genetic data related to the disease. She describes how “This experience became an inspiration for me in the application of algorithmic music software for media scoring.”
When asked about how she got into the world of composing, Marina described how “I have memories of being three years old and creating, and I have always written songs. It was a language I was the most comfortable in as a kid, so it was always clear to me I wanted to do that as a living.” Upon completing her master’s at USC (thanks to her Fulbright Scholarship), she has been making music for media ever since.
Marina’s career post-USC has seen her compose for films and video games. We wondered how different composing is, film music versus video game music. Marina discussed how in a film, the music score is “presented the same way for every audience member, there are no changes in length or outcome, at least in most film productions.” With video games, she explains, “Time dimension of video games changes for each individual player, but also the spatial since the player also controls the character’s movement.”
Just recently, Marina released the soundtrack album to the video game Impasto. The game is based on the Spanish painter Francisco de Goya. She collaborated with composer William Bourassa-Bennet. Impasto’s song, “Pilgrimage Song, composed by Marina, is in reference to Goya’s Pilgrimage to San Isidro painting. Also just completed was her work on the documentary Abuelita’s Kitchen: Mexican Food Stories. The documentary shows the beauty and complexity of Mexican culinary tradition. Marina explained how “The influence of the Mexican son jarocho genre is all over the music score.”
The year has only kicked off, and Marina is certainly busy. Coming up for Marina is a commission soon to premiere in June at the Palau de la Música of Catalonia in 2023 as part of the Barcelona Creació Sonora (Barcelona Sound Creation) Program. On top of that, she is currently scoring two feature films. Not giving too much away, Marina explained how she was also in the music department of the new Boston Stranglermovie that will be released this year. She explains how “my mouth is still sealed on all of those!”.
Stay tuned for more of Marina Ortega Mira’s upcoming work, first with her premier in June at
the Palau de la Música of Catalonia.