Joseph Rivers, PhD

Joseph Rivers, PhD
Coordinator of Music Composition and Film Scoring Programs
Department Chairperson of Film Studies
Director of Arts Management Program
J. Donald Feagin Professor of Music and Professor of Film
College of Arts & Sciences
Film Studies
918-631-3576 Website Lorton Performance Center


PhD – University of Arizona MM – University of South Carolina BM – University of South Carolina


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.

Research Interests

Composed music for ballet, film, and concert performance, including music about Oklahoma historical events and people

Courses Taught

  • Music of the Lord of the Rings Film Epic
  • Independent Study
  • Music and Italian Cinema
  • Senior Seminar
  • Special Topics
  • Introduction to Film Scoring
  • Internship
  • Advanced Film and Video Seminar
  • Composition Seminar
  • Compositional Recital Preparation
  • Advanced Composition Vi
  • Scoring Music for Video Games

Awards & Honors

  • Outstanding Teacher Award