Joseph Rivers, PhD
Joseph Rivers is J. Donald Feagin Professor of Music and Film Studies at the University of Tulsa, where he also chairs the Department of Film Studies and teaches and coordinates the music composition and film music scoring programs. His compositional project encompass concert, stage, and film. Recently he scored original dramatic music for the Emmy-nominated documentary film, "High Stakes: The Life and Times of E.W. Marland," about the famed Oklahoma depression-era oil man and his enigmatic wife Lydie. He also composed the original Music for Bo Bergstrom’s film, "Midsummer Night’s Dream." His music for the ballet, "Wahzhazhe: An Osage Ballet," portraying the story of the Osage Tribe, has been performed all over the region by the Osage Ballet since 2012 as well as at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC in 2013. Rivers’ first symphony, "Echoes of War—Visions of Peace," was commissioned and premiered by the Signature Symphony at TCC, and was recorded by the Kiev Philharmonic Orchestra for Vol. 15 of ERMMedia’s “Masterworks of the New Era” series. His Concerto for Oboe, English Horn and String Orchestra, perhaps the first concerto for these two solo instruments with string orchestra, was performed by the Signature Symphony at TCC in March 2018.
In addition to the Osage Ballet, Rivers has composed a number of Oklahoma-themed works: Symphony No. 2, "Oklahoma Peoples in Trial and Triumph," which recounts the Cherokee Trail of Tears, the discover of oil, and the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot, which was premiered by the Signature Symphony and Chorale and the Cherokee National Youth Choir in November 2011; "Lonely People of the Osage," a choral setting of words by Oklahoma poet and Pawhuska native Winston Weathers, which received its New York premiere by the Gregg Smith Singers; "Will Rogers Self-Portrait," for chorus and orchestra, commissioned for the Will Rogers Heritage, Inc. and the Claremore Community Chorus; Prairie Dreams, a one-act opera about pioneer Oklahoma; and Trio for Violin, Violoncello, and Piano, depicting the Oklahoma landscape through the eyes of a native warrior, which was commissioned by the Oklahoma Music Teachers Association during the Oklahoma state centennial in 2007.
Rivers has recently turned to internationally themed projects, including a recently commissioned new choral work for the Tulsa Oratorio Chorus entitled, "Every Man’s Land" (Le Pays de Tout Homme), commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armistice ending World War I premiered in February 2019 by the Tulsa Oratorio Chorus Chamber Choir; and "Elegy for Babi Yar," commissioned by the Tulsa Council for Holocaust Education, which was premiered for the 2018 Tulsa Interfaith Holocaust Commemoration in April 2018.
Composed music for ballet, film, and concert performance, including music about Oklahoma historical events and people
Film Music, Film Scoring, Music Composition, Music Theory
The Fundamentals of Tonal Music: Concepts and Skills (textbook), Secret River Press.
Rivers J. “Lonely People of the Osage”. Mixed Chorus, Secret River Music, 2018.
Rivers J. Sonata for Violin and Piano. Secret River Music, 2018.
Rivers J. “The Former Things Are Passed Away”. Mixed Chorus and Piano, and String Quartet, Secret River Music, 2018.
Rivers J. “They That Sow in Tears”. Mixed Chorus and Piano, Secret River Music, 2018.
Lonely Hunter, a film directed by Jeff Van Hanken with musical score by Joseph Rivers, 2019
Nuova Avventura is a revision and re-release of a music album of original music.
- Music and Film
- Senior Seminar
- Composition III
- Composition Seminar
- Compositional Recital Preparation
- Counterpoint I
- Film Scoring Workshop
- Advanced Composition V
- Introduction to Film Scoring
- Independent Study
- Composition IV
- Broadcast Music, Inc.
- Phi Beta Kappa
- College Music Society
- Society of Composers and Lyricists
- Sigma Alpha Iota National Associate
Awards & Honors
- Oklahoma Commissioned Composer Award
- Emmy Award Nominataion
- Outstanding Teacher Award