Interview with Carlos Rafael Rivera


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Welcome to another episode of the continuing series of film, TV and video game composer interviews on the CINEMATIC SOUND RADIO NETWORK.

Carlos Rafael Rivera is an EMMY Award-winning composer for film and television. A protégé of Randy Newman, he earned a DMA in Composition at USC’s Thornton School, where he studied with Donald Crockett and Stephen Hartke.

As a guitarist, he has performed onstage as opening act for The Who at the Hollywood Bowl; recorded studio sessions for Island/Def Jam, and Universal Records; and had songs featured on NETFLIX’ FIREFLY LANE, ABC’s SCRUBS, MTV, and VH-1.

As a composer, Rivera has a unique ability to incorporate a large diversity of musical influences into his captivating compositions, which reflect his multi-cultural upbringing in Central America and the United States.

He has served as Composer-in-Residence with the Miami Symphony Orchestra and was a musical consultant for “Invitation to World Literature,” an educational series funded by the Annenberg Foundation and produced by WGBH and is a sought out guest composer and lecturer throughout the globe.

He is also Assistant Professor and Director of the Media Writing and Production Program at the acclaimed Frost School of Music at the University of Miami,

Carlos first met Oscar-nominated film/TV maker Scott Frank over 15 years ago when Scott responded to an ad for music lessons that Carlos had posted at a local Pasadena music store. What started as guitar lessons grew into a years-long friendship, and eventually led to an amazing collaborative partnership beyond the composer’s wildest dreams.

Their first collaboration was on the action-drama feature, A Walk Among the Tombstones, starring Liam Neeson. Carlos went on to score Scott’s western drama series GODLESS, for which he won a Primetime Emmy for his "Main Title Theme" and also earned a nomination for his score. Their third and latest collaboration is the Netflix limited series THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT.

The psychological drama series is based on the novel of the same name by Walter Tevis and follows an orphan in late-1950s Kentucky named Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy) who discovers she has an incredible talent for chess.

In October 2020, for the CINEMATIC SOUND RADIO NETWORK, Jason Drury talked to Carlos Rafael Rivera via Zoom at his home in Miami, Florida. During the interview, they talked extensively about his score for THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT, his working relationship with Scott Frank and of his other two collaborations with Frank; A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES and GODLESS.

Also during the show, you will be hearing music from all 3 productions but extensively from The Queen Gambit, without doubt, one of the best scores of 2020.



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