Of Cuban and Guatemalan descent, Carlos Rafael Rivera grew up in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Miami, and Los Angeles. He has quickly established a name for himself as a composer with the unique ability to incorporate a large diversity of influences in his captivating and innovative compositions, which engage both musician and audience at a visceral and emotional level. His music has been performed by some of the world’s most prominent ensembles, including Chanticleer, the American Composer’s Orchestra, the New England Philharmonic, and the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet; recorded by Warner Classics, Sony Classical, Naxos, and Cedille records; published by C.F. Peters, Mel-Bay, and Doberman Editions; and awarded by the American Composer’s Orchestra, the New England Philharmonic, the Guitar Foundation of America, BMI, and twice by ASCAP.
As a guitarist, he studied guitar with the noted teacher Carlos Molina, and quickly established a name for himself as not only a virtuoso on the instrument, but also as one of the preeminent composers for the guitar today. His work in popular music includes performances on feature soundtracks for Lions Gate Films (Crash – 2006 Academy Award Winner: Best Picture) and Universal Pictures (Dragonfly – 2002); studio sessions for Vagrant, Island/Def Jam, and Universal Records; as well as ABC’s Scrubs(2009), MTV, and VH-1. He has performed live as opening act for The Who at the Hollywood Bowl, as well as with Grammy Award winning jazz trumpet soloist Arturo Sandoval. Carlos is also a second prize winner at the D’Addario International Guitar Concerto Competition.