Music and Film Studies Professor in Southern California

Dr. Joseph Rivers is spending his sabbatical this year in Southern California, but is not lounging around the beach. He is learning as much as possible about the film and music industry through classes, seminars, professional contacts, and by working on music and film projects.

He has completed the soundtrack for an indie film that began in Tulsa for director Nathan McLeod, and has collaborated with a colleague and friend, David Spear (film, concert composer and arranger) in creating some orchestral scores for concerts performed in Amman, Jordan and Indianapolis. Additionally, he has composed music for election ads as well as worked on some music projects for the music industry, including assisting other composers in orchestrations for film and television. He is also working on a second edition of his music theory textbook and is writing an original screenplay in collaboration with his wife.

Dr. Rivers has taken on the role of a student by enrolling at UCLA and taking several classes and seminars on various topics of film music, video game music, the film music business, orchestrating for film, and music technology. This has allowed him to make the acquaintance of some outstanding composers such as Charles Bernstein, a composer for over 100 feature films, who teaches a very popular class on the art of film scoring once a year at UCLA.

This has also given Dr. Rivers the opportunity to be a guest speaker on the campus of California State University Long Beach, where he spoke to a composition class about his music and experiences. He has worked on concert music projects, including a full-length Symphony and a three-movement Concertino for Oboe, English Horn and String Orchestra, the latter to be performed by University of Tulsa Symphony in March 2009.

Dr. Rivers is a member of the Society of Composers and Lyricists, based in Los Angeles, a special community of composers in the film and music industry who participate in various opportunities for professional and social interaction. The Society often attends pre-screenings of new films, in which the composer (and sometimes the director) is available to answer questions about the music and the film.

There are many film festivals in Southern California and outlying areas where one can attend screenings of new films in a variety of categories and see and meet the film director. It is very important to meet filmmakers, for they are the ones who hire and work with the composer to score their films.

Dr. Rivers stated, "While I continue on this track of attending additional UCLA Extension courses and collaborating on various music and film projects, I am planning ways to improve and enhance the film scoring curriculum at TU to better serve our students and help them network into the industry according to their talents and interests, as well as to create opportunities for them right there in Oklahoma." He plans to create additional courses in film scoring and strengthen the curriculum to create an emphasis in film scoring.