Trending News

Behind Dana Zulpykhar’s genius of integrating Kazakh ethnic Instruments into modern film scores

Film composer and performer Dana Zulpykhar, a name linked with musical genius, has quickly become well-known in Kazakhstan. Dana’s career in the music industry is nothing short of remarkable, with an impressive resume full of honors and accomplishments.

Dana’s journey in music started in Kazakhstan, where she developed a strong love for music. Dana had a special foundation because of her early exposure to both Western and traditional Kazakh music, both of which were influenced by the rich cultural legacy of her own country. Dana’s love for music drove her to the esteemed Berklee College of Music, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Screen Scoring. This rigorous academic program honed Dana’s natural talent and provided her with the skills she needed to succeed in the competitive field of film composition.

Processed with VSCO with 1 preset

Dana is best known for her work on the film score for “Zere,” a moving drama that has captured the hearts of viewers all around the world. The film, which follows the story of a young girl,  Zere, who is forced into a marriage by her own mother, has a sophisticated yet simple soundtrack that is reminiscent of the compositions of modern composers such as Nicholas Brittel and Ludovico Einaudi. Dana’s work on “Zere” received a lot of praise, and the film was awarded “Best Original Film Score” at the 2022 Listapad and Kinoshock International Film Festivals. A notable feature of the movie was the score, which showcased Dana’s extraordinary gift for writing music that improves narrative by using nuanced melodies to evoke strong feelings.

Apart from Dana’s triumph with “Zere,” she has written music for multiple other feature films, such as “Boxer,” “Claustro,” and “Almaty, I Love You.” Dana’s ability to craft complex musical tales that elevate the movie experience is evident in each of these projects. The film “Boxer,” which Kazakhfilm produced at the Ministry of Culture’s request, has a powerful soundtrack that complements its compelling story. Dana was able to experiment with darker, more atmospheric compositions on “Claustro,” another project she worked on with Qara Production. Dana’s love letter to the city of Almaty, “Almaty, I Love You,” is yet another example of her versatility and ability to convey the spirit of various themes via song.

Dana does more than just work on big-budget movies. She was highly recognized for her composition for the Samsung Kazakhstan commercial, which took up the PHNX 2023 Ad Forum Silver medal for “Best Use of Sound and Music.” This ad furthered Dana’s reputation as a versatile composer by showcasing her ability to write powerful, impactful music for a range of media formats.

Dana’s flexibility goes beyond her work on screenplays. She has played on several esteemed occasions, such as the Berklee Career Jam concert, where her original composition “The Nomad” was awarded “Best Composition”. Dana has also worked with well-known musicians, contributing her violin and session work to a number of well-known projects.

Highlights of her career as a performer include:

  • Recording a solo violin for the song by the Academy Award-winning Paul Williams and Latin Grammy Winner Noel Schajris “Breathe again.”
  • Recording various instruments for soundtracks of video games like Arknights and the theme song “The Edge of the World” for AFK Journey
  • Taking part in several concerts at the legendary Boston Symphony Hall.

Processed with VSCO with e5 preset

Dana has worked with Latin Grammy winner Noel Schajris on a couple of notable songs, playing the guitar and solo violin on multiple tracks, as well as being a featured singer. Additionally, she has played with the San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra led by Anthony Parnther and other orchestras like Riverside Philharmonic and Redlands Symphony. These shows showcase Dana’s talent as a performer and her versatility in a range of musical roles.


Dana’s impact on the international music industry is growing as she continues to push the envelope in terms of musical innovation. Dana Zulpykhar is not only a torchbearer for Kazakh music but also a source of inspiration for young musicians everywhere, thanks to her distinctive fusion of cultural heritage and modern flair. Dana has a profound awareness of the potential of music for narrative, affective, and cross-cultural storytelling, which is evident in her work.

Visit Dana Zulpykhar’s website to learn more about her and her remarkable career.

Notable Achievements and Collaborations

“Zere” Film Score: Best Original Film Score at the Listapad 2022 International Film Festival.

“Boxer” Film Score: Commissioned by the Ministry of Culture of Kazakhstan.

“Claustro” Film Score: A dark, atmospheric composition showcasing Dana’s versatility. Winner of Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival for “Best Feature Film.”

“Almaty, I Love You” Film Score: A musical love letter to the city of Almaty.

Samsung Kazakhstan Commercial: PHNX 2023 Ad Forum Silver award for “Best Use of Sound and Music.”

Berklee Career Jam: Winner of the Best Composition award.

Session Musician: Collaborations with Latin Grammy-Winning Noel Schajris, recording instruments for video games like Arknights, AFK Journey and performances with San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra.

Along with her work in film and commercial music, Dana Zulpykhar has made significant contributions to the video game industry. As a studio musician, she has worked with award-winning composers to create scores for popular video games such as “Arknights” and “AFK Journey.” Her knowledge of various instruments and ability to adapt to different musical styles has made her an invaluable asset in the gaming industry. Dana has a few AAA game projects lined up for this year, demonstrating her versatility as a composer whose talents extend far beyond film.

Dana’s music, which combines the traditional with the modern to create music that is both avant-garde and firmly anchored in cultural history, continues to find an audience across the globe. Their contributions to the music industry, together with Dana Zulpykhar’s journey, are sure to enthrall and inspire for many years to come. For updates, connect with Dana Zulpykhar on social media:

Share via:
No Comments

Leave a Comment