Tait Awardee, Kevin Penkin composes original score to celebrate Rio Tinto's 50 years of iron ore mining

We were delighted to learn that Western Australian composer and Tait Awardee, Kevin Penkin has composed an original score commissioned by Rio Tinto in 2016, to mark 50 years since Rio Tinto’s first contracted shipment of iron ore which departed Dampier for the Yawata Iron and Steel Company in Japan.

Hoan Maru 1966,  Rio Tinto
Hoan Maru 1966, Rio Tinto

Ahead of this milestone, thousands of Australian contractors and suppliers laid almost 300 kilometres of railway, moved 12 million cubic metres of earth and rock and installed 300,000 tonnes of plant and equipment. The company also built the towns of Dampier and Tom Price, and dredged a port to accept the largest ore carriers of the day. Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Chris Salisbury said

“When the MV Houn Maru set sail 50 years ago nobody could have predicted that Pilbara iron ore would underpin Australia’s economic growth. “The Pilbara’s vast iron ore deposits, and the people who developed them, have helped build modern Australia and some of the world’s leading economies,”

Kevin was our first Tait Scholar which enabled him to complete his studies at the Royal College of Music. The debut performance of Hoan Maru, by Perth Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jessica Gethin was recorded live at the 50th anniversary celebration on Friday 26th August, 2016 at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre.

B i o g r a p h y

Kevin Penkin, Tait Scholar
Kevin Penkin, Tait Scholar 2014/15

Kevin Penkin is an Australian composer who has written for video games, anime, film and the concert stage. He won ‘Outstanding Vocal Theme’ at the 2013 Video Game Music Awards for his song ‘I Race the Dawn’, and was nominated for ‘Best Newcomer’ in 2012 by Square Enix Music Online for his work with Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu on the game ‘Juza Engi Engetsu Sangokuden’.

 Since developing an interest for Japan at an early age, it was always a goal for Kevin to compose for both video games and anime. Recent efforts have seen him write for the anime series ‘Norn9’, and the highly anticipated sci-fi film ‘Under the Dog’. While expanding in the world of anime, he has remained passionate about video games, composing for the indie hits ‘Defenders Quest’, ‘Implosion – Never Lose Hope’, and ‘Deemo’.

Kevin moved to London in 2013 to attend the Royal College of Music to pursue a Masters of Composition for Screen, from which he graduated from in June of 2015. He was selected as the inaugural Tait Scholar which gave him a £5,000 per annum scholarship to support his studies. The Tait Trust commissioned an original piece for solo flute and Chamber Orchestra entitled ‘Changing Feet’ which was debuted at the 2014 Tait Winter Prom at St John’s Smith’s Square in December 2014.

Changing Feet is about changing pace. Leaving the world’s most isolated city to live in one of the most industrious and compact environments requires a huge mental change. This piece tries to reflect not only the mentality of someone who grew up in Perth, but the experience of moving to London and ultimately returning home back to Australia. This work explores what one could miss of Perth, be it the silence, the space or the natural beauty.

Kevin Penkin composer. 29th September 2014

Listen to a sample of more of Kevin’s work on Soundcloud

During his time as a student, he heavily expanded his efforts to be involved in local projects. As a result, Kevin is now working on UK based short films and theatre. He is also involved in concert music, writing for ensembles such as the ‘Perth Chamber Orchestra’, ‘Greywing Ensemble’, and the ‘And So Forth Opera Company’.

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