CARLOS RAFAEL RIVERA is an Emmy, Grammy, and SCL winning composer, whose career has spanned several genres of the music industry. Having scored one of the most viewed NETFLIX Limited Series of all time, THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT, starring Anya Taylor-Joy, and helmed by writer/director Scott Frank, Carlos was nominated for a Primetime EMMY award, while having received the Society of Composers and Lyricists (SCL), as well as the Hollywood Music in Media (HMMA), and two International Film Critics Association (IFMCA) Awards.

His work for Film and TV includes scores for Netflix’ GODLESS, for which he received a Primetime Emmy, Universal Pictures’ A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES, starring Liam Neeson, the hit TV show and 15-time EMMY nominee HACKS for HBO Max, starring Jean Smart, as well as the upcoming JUST BEYOND for DISNEY +, and LA REINA DEL SUR 3 for TELEMUNDO.

A protégé of RANDY NEWMAN, he earned a DMA in Composition at USC’s Thornton School of Music, 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 feature soundtracks (CRASH, DRAGONFLY), as well as NETFLIX’s FIREFLY LANE, ABC’s SCRUBS, MTV, and VH-1.

His music has been acclaimed by the Miami Herald, the San Francisco Examiner, and the LA Times, helping establish him as a composer with the unique ability of incorporating a large diversity of musical influences into his captivating compositions, which reflect his multi-cultural upbringing in Central America and the United States.

His work for Visual Media and the Performing Arts can be heard in concert halls and at festivals around the world, being featured by Arturo Sandoval, the Cincinnati Pops, Colin Currie, Chanticleer, Cavatina Duo, the Chicago Sinfonietta, the American Composers Orchestra, the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, the Pro Musica Mundi Choir, and the Beethoven Academy Orchestra; commissioned by the Simon Bolivar Youth Symphony and the American Wind Symphony; recorded by Varêse-Sarabande, Warner, BMG, Sony, Naxos, and Cedille labels; and awarded by the Herb Alpert Foundation, the Guitar Foundation of America, BMI, and twice by ASCAP.

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. He is a voting member of the Television Academy (EMMYS) and the Recording Academy (GRAMMYs), and a board member of the Society of Composers and Lyricists (SCL). He is a sought-out guest composer and lecturer throughout the Americas and Europe.

Carlos is Assistant Professor and Director of the Media Scoring and Production Program at the acclaimed Frost School of Music at the University of Miami.


Download press kit, full biography, and full-resolution photos


Download press kit, full biography, and full-resolution photos


Come for the top-shelf talent involved, stay for the lead performances, crisp photography, and lovely music (courtesy of T Bone Burnett and Carlos Rafael Rivera).

Eddie Strait - The Daily Dot

Prominent in the first scene was a buzzing effect in the strings and, in the sober second, a clarinet solo. The work ends with motoric and assertive music that recalls Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring." The performance was warmly received, and Rivera was present to take a bow.

Caldwell Titcomb - Arts Fuse

Yet the most arresting manipulation of voice and sound came in Motet for 12 Singers by Carlos Rafael Rivera. The Motet consisted almost exclusively of the five sacred syllables of the Tibetan Buddhists: Bhyo, Hum, Om, Hsi, Kye. Its effects ranged from pitch-bending, drone, and glissando to the most percussive elements of speech, in which the singers were in fact not singing at all but were exploding single consonant sounds from those five syllables to create continually diverse sound effects.

Kaneez Munjee - SF Classical Voice

...composer Carlos Rafael Rivera offers a score that is unexpectedly melodic yet entirely effective.

Andrew Barker - Variety

...From the new recording were the complex rhythmic games of Carlos Rivera's Cumba-Quin--with the composer present for a well-deserved bow--...

John Henken - Los Angeles Times

Carlos Rafael Rivera went all Debussy when he sat down to compose the slow movement of The Whirler of the Dance. (Guitarist) Izquierdo placed it in the soft moonlight.

Tom Strini - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Even after six chapters, it's a testament to how good it all looks – and how evocative Carlos Rafael Rivera's score is – that you'll never skip the opening credits.

Ivan Radford - Vodzilla

The score for the show was composed by Carlos Rafael Rivera, and it was pretty f*$#% great.

The Marcko Guy

Yet, as Frank is a genuinely top screenwriter, the dialogue is choice, and Neeson is compelling as the protagonist, credible and authoritative in a way few Hollywood leading men could ever be. Possibly even better is Carlos Rafael Rivera’s moody score.

Jonathan Leaf - Forbes

The score for Godless is really excellent. It’s credited to composer Carlos Rafael Rivera, who previously did the score for another Scott Frank project, the Liam Neeson vehicle A Walk Among the Tombstones.

Brian Tallerico - Vulture

Carlos Rafael Rivera's score is probably the only TV music of the year that I can remember other than the music of 'Stranger Things'— it's that memorable and hooky.

Rodrigo Perez - The Playlist

The packed crowd...responded enthusiastically to the new piece with a long-standing ovation. Although only time will tell whether Rivera has done for Miami what Gershwin did for New York and Eric Coates for London, this is an accessible, highly entertaining new work.

David Fleshler - The Miami Herald