Joseph L. Rivers


Department Chair, Film StudiesProfessor of Music and Film StudiesLorton Performance Center 2210, 2095
918-631-3576 and/or 918-631-2234
joseph-rivers@utulsa.eduPersonal PageRivers Curriculum Vita

Joseph Rivers is a composer of music for concert stage, dance, opera and film. Among his most recent works are the Concertino for Oboe, English Horn and String Orchestra, commissioned by oboist Lise Glaser in 2009. Rivers’ orchestral tone poem, Echoes of War-Visions of Peace, commissioned and premiered by the Signature Symphony of Tulsa, was recorded by the Czech Philharmonic under the direction of Robert Winstin for inclusion on Volume 15 of ERMMedia Masterworks of the New Era CD series. He composed his Trio for Violin, Violoncello, and Piano, reflecting Oklahoma history and landscapes on the occasion of the Oklahoma centennial, in fulfillment of the 2007 Oklahoma Music Teachers Association Commissioned Composers Award, and was premiered by Trio Tulsa in June 2007 during the OMTA Convention in Norman, OK. Another CD, Nuova Avventura, includes some of his piano and chamber compositions that appeal to a broad range of listeners. His other compositions celebrating the Oklahoma centennial include Will Rogers Self-Portrait, for mixed chorus and chamber orchestra (or piano), commissioned by the Will Rogers Heritage, Inc. and the Claremore Community Chorus.; a one-act opera, Prairie Dreams, about pioneer Oklahoma; and Lonely People of the Osage, a choral setting of the beautiful poem by Oklahoma poet Winston Weathers about the Osage people near Tulsa. He recently completed the musical score to the feature film, Brother Mine (Nathan McLeod, director), and he has worked as an independent composer and orchestrator in the Los Angeles area.

Education and Degrees Earned

  • Ph.D. Music Theory, University of Arizona, 1982
  • M.M. Music Theory, University of South Carolina, 1978
  • B.M. Music Composition, University of South Carolina, 1976

Areas of Academic Specialty

  • Music Composition
  • Film Scoring
  • Theory

Previous Teaching Experience

University of Tulsa

  • Professor of Music and Film Studies, 2008 to present
  • on sabbatical leave as an independent artist, 2008-2009
  • Assoc. Prof. of Music, 1991-1998
  • Asst. Professor, 1984-90
  • Director of the School of Music, 2005-2008; Joint appointment in the Department of Film Studies, 2006

Mammoth-San Manuel Unified School District #8, San Manuel, Arizona

  • Instrumental and Choral Director, 1982-84

Professional Affiliations

  • BMI
  • Sigma Alpha Iota (National Associate)
  • Society of Composers and Lyricists
  • American Composers Forum
  • College Music Society
  • Phi Beta Kappa

Courses Taught at TU

  • Composition I and II (MUS 2182, 2192)
  • Composition III and IV (MUS 3042, 3052)
  • Counterpoint I (MUS 3113)
  • Counterpoint II (MUS 3123)
  • Introduction to Film Scoring (MUS 3223/FLM 3223)
  • Filmscoring Workshop (MUS 3233/FLM 3233)
  • Film Scoring II (MUS 3413)
  • Advanced Composition V and VI (MUS 4203, 4213)

Awards & Recognition

  • 2007 Oklahoma Commissioned Composers’ Award, Oklahoma Music Teachers Association; commissioned to composer Trio for Violin, Violoncello, and Piano, which was premiered at the OMTA state convention in Norman, OK in June 2007


  • Echoes of War—Visions of Peace
    ERMMedia Masterworks of the New Era CD series, Vol. 15, 2009.
  • Nuova Avventura
    CD album of piano and chamber music compositions, 2008.
  • Portrait of a Cat
    Purrs and Licks, Rose Stone Trio Celebrates Oklahoma’s Centennial, Rose Stone Trio, audio CD, 2007.