updated 9 May 2022
© Lluís Capdevila

José Río‑Pareja

Spanish composer born 24 May 1973 in Barcelona.

José Río-Pareja obtained degrees in composition, conducting, and choral conducting at the Conservatori Superior Municipal de Barcelona. From 2002 to 2007, he lived in the United States, where he wrote his thesis in composition at Stanford University under the direction of Brian Ferneyhough. Since 2007, he has been professor of composition at the College of Music of Catalonia.

He has received grants from institutions such as the Cursos Manuel de Falla of the University of Granada (1998), the Accademia Musicale Chigiana (2002), La Caixa Foundation (2002-2004), Stanford University (2004-2007), Center Acanthes (2004), and Dorothy Culver (2005).

His works have been commissioned and performed by the Orquesta Nacional de España, the Arditti Quartet, ensemble recherche, Ensemble intercontemporain, Ensemble Contrechamps, Grupo de Música Contemporãnea de Lisboa, Ensemble Inauthentica, Ensemble NeoArs Sonora, Ensemble Residencias, Grupo Enigma, Trío Arbós, the Kandinsky Trio, Dúo Alberto Rosado and David Apellániz, Roberto Fabbriciani, Georges Pludermacher, Ann Unju Yi, Robert Huw Morgan, Lluïsa Espigolé, PluralEnsemble, Grup Instrumental de València, Kebyart, and Ensemble Sonido Extremo.

Río-Pareja’s interest in contemporary compositional techniques and traditional music is reflected in his work on sound structures manipulated through minute variations in frequency, amplitude, or spectrum. These techniques appear notably in Tempus Fluidum (2006), Carácter (2010), Temperamento (2010), and Entheos (2011). They return in 2018 in Los incensarios, commissioned by the Orquesta y Coro Nacionales de España, which is inspired by the saetas of the Holy Week processions in Granada. The timbral complexity and micro-intervallic elasticity of these centuries-old chants fit with Río-Pareja’s other interests, allowing him to mix tradition and modernity through a fragmented soundscape.

More recently, Río-Pareja has been interested in analogies between properties of light and sound. He evokes optical effects related to the sun in Ein Rausch im Sonnenglanz (2014) and Parhelia (2018) — a name given to the halos formed by the refraction of sunlight on ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere. Similarly, stellar light phenomena, such as variations in the luminosity of stars, inspire Estrellas variables (2015) and Luminosa azul (2016).

Río-Pareja’s works have been released on the Verso label in collaboration with the BBVA Foundation.

Prizes and awards

  • MasMenos Prize, 2016 (Argentina)
  • Spanish National Institute for Performing Arts and Music (INAEM) Prize, 2008 (Colegio de España in Paris)
  • Second Prize in the Henri Dutilleux Composition Competition, 2004 (France)
  • Diploma of Merit from the Accademia Musicale Chigiana, 2002 (Italy)
  • Cristóbal Halffter Prize, 2001
  • First Prize from the Sociedad General de Autores y Editores, 2000
  • Frederic Mompou International Award, 1995


Site du compositeur, El Compositor habla, Keybart.

Liens Internet

(liens vérifiés en mai 2022).


  • José RÍO-PAREJA, El devenir de la euforia (y la melancolía), dans « Patrimonios Sonoros de Hoy », 1 CD ENS records, 2016.
  • José RÍO-PAREJA, Carácter ; Entheos ; Marginal ; Red threads of desire ; La rivière sans socle, Trío Arbós, dans « La Rivière sans socle », 1 CD Verso, 2012, VRS 2119.
  • José RÍO-PAREJA, Danza con saliva y sudor, dans « 541 vol.2 », 1 CD Innova records, 2007.
  • José RÍO-PAREJA, Red threads of desire, dans « 541 vol.1 », 1 CD Innova records, 2005.
  • José RÍO-PAREJA, Zarzas, dans « XIV Premio SGAE Jovenes Compositores. Music Contemporanea », 1 CD Iberautor Promociones Culturales, 2002.