Anna Kang: The Talented Media Composer from Korea

The talented media composer Anna Kang has been making waves in the industry for several years. Her musical background, education, and experience have all contributed to her unique talent and expertise in music and films. 

Originally from Yulpo, South Korea, Anna Kang began playing the piano at the young age of five years old, and showed a natural talent for the instrument. Despite her love for music, Kang didn't initially plan to become a film or a media composer. It was only in her early twenties, after falling in love with movies, that she discovered her passion for film music.

Kang grew up in the Christian community, where she had many opportunities to perform on stage. She enjoyed performing in ensembles and being on stage, although she admits to being nervous every time. Kang also studied at Sangmyung University, where she learned the fundamentals of composition and had the chance to explore many different types of media. This period in her life was crucial for her musical development and became the starting point for her film scoring career.

Kang's education is an essential part of her success as a media composer. 
She studied New Media Composition at Sangmyung University, where she honed her composition skills and learned how to analyze videos and discover dramatic reasons in them. This ability became essential for her work as a media composer. As a recipient of the Academic Scholarship, she graduated with the Academic Excellence Award and then received the Berklee World Tour Scholarship. 

Combining film and recording experience to enhance skills.
Kang has worked on several short films as a composer, including “Robot Vacuum Cleaner, Romance”, or “Black Swan”. In her role as a composer, Kang was responsible for supervising all the music that appeared in the films. For example, in “Robot Vacuum Cleaner, Romance”, one character listens to rock music through headphones, which the audience can hear. Kang had to consult with the director to find the right music for this scene.

She relies heavily on her flexibility when dealing with film directors in this unique role, since they have different working styles. Ah-in Yoo, the first director she worked with, had a specific picture of music for example. Kang composed based on the ideas and temp music (reference music) Yoo provided, and followed her opinion throughout the process.

About the “Robot Vacuum Cleaner, Romance”, Anna adds : “I had various explorations and challenges on how to interpret the identity of Coco, a robot vacuum cleaner, through music. In addition, the proper sound was needed that did not harm director Yoo Ah-in’s unique warm sensibility and visual beauty. By researching and combining different sources, I have succeeded in creating a unique, romantic, yet futuristic sound for Coco. Director Yoo Ah-in is very strong in detail, so there were countless processes to make the final music. However, as a composer, I pursued the director’s intentions to the end and presented various musical directions, eventually creating this beautiful work. The birth of this film was introduced in various media and received positive reviews for the music from the audience. That led to my second work with director Ah-in Yoo.”

One of Kang's most important film projects was the short film “Black Swan”, a drama released in 2022. The film was selected and sponsored by GS Caltex and won the Eco Creator Award for Audience Award. It warns against the dangers of plastic waste and its impact on the environment. Kang's music added to the film's emotional impact, creating a sense of urgency and tension.

Her exceptional talent has also been showcased in her work as a media composer and orchestrator for Christian music. One of Anna Kang's notable recording projects is the 2017 World Remnant Conference (WRC). Christian performers from 15 countries participated in the festival, which brought together nearly 200 performers. Anna collaborated with eight other composers and orchestrators to stage dozens of pieces for the festival. During the four-day event, which was held at BEXCO, a prominent venue in Busan, classical music, musicals, and pop music were also performed live by award-winning musicians such as Jin-ju Kwak, a soprano who won first place in the prestigious Joongang Music Concours, or Haeun Jang, a classical guitarist who performed with the New York Union City Orchestra at Carnegie Hall and the Russia Philharmonic Orchestra, Grand Prize winner for the 32nd Korea Guitar Association International Competition.

World Remnant Conference (WRC), Busan, 2017

“This was challenging and exciting work for me as a media composer. On the massive screen on the stage, various videos for various purposes were shown to the audience. And in front of the screen, a choir and orchestra of up to 200 people performed live. The music I composed and orchestrated was played live along with the video. It was a complex work that considered the video and required a broad understanding of stage music and a diversified perspective simultaneously.”-says Anna

When asked what advice she would give to young musicians who want to follow in her footsteps, Anna Kang answers:  “My advice to young composers is to challenge themselves, not avoid works they feel are weakest or that are usually not their favorites. I confess that Black Swan, the short film I worked on last year, was not the kind of film I usually watch. As a result, I had debated whether to do this work for quite some time. Eventually, I gave it a try, and I expanded my creative horizons by using sounds I had never used before. The experience helped me discover other strengths I possess. My favorite works don't usually lead to these discoveries. It occurs in a place I want to avoid.”

Projects in the works.
Kang is currently working on several film projects, including the next Ah-in Yoo's film which will be out in January 2024, as well as a full-length feature film that will be released in 2023. The film tells the story of a young girl who dreams of becoming a composer but faces many obstacles along the way. Kang's music will play an essential role in the film, bringing the characters and their emotions to life.

She has also recently taken on a new challenge in her career as a media composer. She now works with Igloo Music, a prestigious production company that has partnerships with major players in the media industry, including Netflix and Disney. As a part of the Igloo Music team, Anna collaborates with various award-winning engineers, directors, and editors, including Gustavo Borner, who has 30 Grammy Award nominations, winning 5 Grammys and 12 Latin Grammys.

Anna's skills as a media composer are well-honed, and she primarily works with music software technologies to create her compositions. Her extensive experience in the industry has enabled her to take on critical roles in numerous projects. Some of the shows Anna has recently worked on include the Netflix original series Madre Solo hay Dos, Cielo Grande, and The Glory. Additionally, she has worked on the Netflix movie Tonight You're Sleeping with Me and the Disney show Big Bet.

Anna Kang has a busy year ahead of her in 2023, as she will also compose the soundtrack for a documentary film, due out sometime in 2024.
Her creation will certainly impact all those projects in the future, so we are looking forward to hearing how it will play out.

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