Lena Matienko’s ‘Te Ata Pūao’: A Symphony of Stories & Soundscapes


Lena Matienko brings her unique and charming new EP, Te Ata Pūao (The First Dawn). This is a series of pieces that showcase exceptional world/folk cinematic music, offering the best from the artist so far.

Matienko is a composer who has mastered instrumental and has created across a variety of styles, full of emotion and magic. She is a classically trained pianist, a music producer, a singer, and a songwriter. The artist has worked with modern and classical instruments and has created ethereal, gorgeous music to suit the tastes of any listener. The artist has been composing since she was 6, beginning her journey in a rural part of Russia.

Lena Matienko first trained in Russia, still behind the Iron Curtain. In 2013, she made the choice to move to Australia and embarked on a journey to become recognized as a solo musician, following a long career full of accolades and performances.

Lena has worked on music of all kinds, but her pieces have been characterized by a profound emotional quality, meaningful messages, and powerful soundscapes that possess the power to take the listener elsewhere to another time. Throughout the years, she has sought to make music for films and television, completing a Master of Arts in Screen Composition at the Australian Film Television and Radio School.

Lena Matienko has worked on composing the original score for several projects. Te Ata Pūao (The First Dawn) is not just a captivating EP but also the score to her film project of the same name. This is a unique VR film that draws from the legend of Ranginui and Papatūānuku. The score shifts to immerse the viewer into the world of the film and add emotion to the storytelling of the visual scenes. Here, the artist makes something cinematic in intent as well as scope and offers a deeply creative, captivating collection of music.

Te Ata Pūao draws from the powerful musical traditions of the Māori, with performances by Noe Soames. It uses the Taonga pūoro to tell a narrative about the god of forests and of birds, Tāne Mahuta. The visuals and music tell the story of how he separates his parents, the earth, and the sky and pushes them apart to create something new. Matienko uses her skills and talents to create a powerful sonic tale full of evocative rhythms and solid beats. It is sure to thrill those listeners looking for a cinematic, sweeping experience, a powerful combination of modern and ancient. The ancestral legendary story provides a solid base for the EP and empowers Matienko to create something distinctive, new with a sound to remember and enjoy. The EP is a great listen and offers an ethereal quality that brings listeners back to ancient times. 

You can find out more about Lena Matienko on her website lenamatienko.com


We had the pleasure of interviewing Lena Matienko. Here are the excerpts from the interview. 

Hi Lena, Great to have you with us today! Please share with our readers about yourself.

Hi, I am a screen composer; I write original songs and music for films. I am also a singer-songwriter with professional training in piano. 

Please tell us more about your journey.

I like to say that music is my first language. I’ve studied music theory and piano since I was six at an Academy of Music in Russia. It’s pretty competitive there, but I managed to be quite successful. Growing up in post-Soviet Russia wasn’t easy for anyone. Music and film were my only escape. I was always drawn to art and to creative people, so I played in a pop-rock band throughout my student years. 

In 2013 I made a permanent move to Australia to be with the man who would become my husband. And with his support, my passion for art took over my life. And his life. Sorry, Hubby.

I had some live performance experience here in Sydney, playing my own songs. And, I’ve been lucky enough to receive valuable mentorship and tutelage from such eminent music industry figures as Lindy Morrison (The Go-betweens), Eric Chapus (Endorphin), and composer John Kilbey, and Emmy award-winning producer/songwriter Sean Carey (Motown Magic and Beat Bugs). 


My transition to the world of film started when I wrote a few compositions for Angels of the Battlefield, a feature documentary by Nick Bleszynski. Hearing my music in a film inspired me to pursue a career in the film industry, and I enrolled at the Australian Film, Radio, and Television School.

Throughout my Master’s program, I wrote original music and songs for many short films that have been traveling to film festivals around Australia and internationally. I also completed a very exciting project on spatial scores for VR films.

This year, I was honored to have my score performed live at Vivid Sydney, as part of the presentation ‘Feeling it: How music and sound impact our screen experience‘. Even though I’ve been playing and creating music since before I learned to read, I believe I’m just at the beginning of my journey, and I’m looking forward to creating some amazing works with my fellow filmmakers. 

Please share with our readers about your music projects.

I would like to share with you one of my latest songs Volcano written for a short film ‘Reunion‘. The original Russian version was used as a diegetic piece, specifically written and produced to serve the portrayal of one of the main characters, who travels around the world and listens to eclectic music, and this song perfectly accompanies his experiences.

The original lyrics were inspired by the director Gilbert Kemp Attrill, and the talented writer Courtney Harlad has interpreted them beautifully into English.

I’m thrilled to share this new version with you all and hope that it continues to serve the film in the same powerful way that the original Russian version did. 🙏

What are the strategies that helped you become successful in your journey?

What’s success? Is it income, the number of projects you complete per year, their budget, or the size of an ensemble you’d like to record? 

For me, it’s the quality of work I produce, no matter the budget. 

I consider myself successful if I am proud of the music I produce. I consider myself successful when I see tears in people’s eyes when they see their films with my scores for the first time. 

If you would like to be a good composer/songwriter, I always advise starting with music theory. If you would like to be a good writer, you need to learn the language and grammar. Music is just another language. 

If you speak it fluently, you can interpret an idea from spoken language into a musical language intuitively. 

Please remember that your social media stats, money, fame, and recognition are not a reflection of the quality of your work. 


Any message for our readers?

Don’t waste your time trying to be like someone else. Life is too short, and in a few decades after our passing, there won’t be any memory of us.

Don’t fixate on a result or a goal you’re trying to achieve, but enjoy your journey every day. Find a purpose, a meaning for your existence, and make the world around you a little bit better every day. 

Fantastic! So tell us, how can people find out more about you?

I am active on Instagram @lenamatienko.music – this is where you can see more personal messages and stories about my daily life and the routine of a musician. But trust me, it’s not always that exciting. It’s mostly me locked inside my cave, hanging with my cat (Karina is doing most of the work for my social media). 

I release original soundtracks on Spotify, Apple Music, and other streaming platforms, and I will soon release a few of my own songs, so please follow me on them to listen to the new music.


Thank you so much, Lena, for giving us your precious time! We wish you all the best for your journey ahead!