Art Rivers brings twenty-five years of experience as a teacher, violinist, commissioned composer, and conductor. Art Rivers has received commissions to compose concert music (orchestral, choral, and chamber music), as well as orchestral arrangements, in Texas and the Midwest. He has scored several films, one of which won an award at the San Antonio Horrific Film Fest. He has written music in the electro-acoustic medium and has worked as a composer/consultant for film directors in Texas and Minnesota where he participated in a workshop led by veteran film composer, Christopher Young (Hellraiser, Spider Man 3, Sinister).
Currently, he is composing a work for two violins and chamber orchestra (Sunflower Music Festival premiere), as well as a piece for chamber orchestra and speaker/tenor based on Native American legend. A full-scholarship student at the University of North Texas, Rivers received a Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance, studying with Robert Davidovici. He was also the recipient of the Marjorie Fulton Memorial Fellowship (performing the Sibelius Violin Concerto). While at UNT he was appointed concertmaster of the Denton Community Orchestra, as well as principal second violin of the UNT Symphony and Chamber Orchestras. In addition, Rivers maintained a studio of seventy private violin/viola students in the Plano school district. He was also violinist in over a dozen orchestras around the state, including the Amarillo, East Texas, Garland/Las Colinas, Richardson, Irving, Wichita Falls, Abilene, San Angelo, and Waco symphonies, and served as Assistant Concertmaster/Principal Second in several of them. He is also featured violinist on several albums with Earthstar Recordings/Publications.
Rivers was born in Topeka, Kansas. The son of two professional pianist-composers, James and Julie Rivers, he began studying violin and conducting with Everett Fetter. As a young composer he was the first-place winner of the KMTA composition contest on two occasions. As a young violinist he won concerto competitions with the Topeka and Omaha Symphony Orchestras, performing Saint-Saens’ Violin Concerto No. 3 in B Minor. Rivers continued violin studies with Charles Stegeman, and also performed in a master class for Sol Greitzer, former principal violist of the New York Philharmonic, after which he was invited to be the youngest member of Gerard Schwarz’s Waterloo Festival Orchestra at Princeton University for two summers in a row. Notable guest artists at Waterloo included conductors Maxim Shostakovich, James DePreist, and David Atherton, as well as composer David Diamond, and pianists Andre Watts and Jorge Bolet. Additional festival experience includes having played for two summers in the renowned Sunflower Music Festival Orchestra.
Rivers studied conducting at UNT with Anshel Brusilow, earning a Master of Music degree in orchestral conducting. He was Brusilow’s orchestra librarian for two years, and he was also accepted to the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors (Hancock, Maine). He completed the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Composition at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory. His primary teachers were Zhou Long, Reynold Simpson, Paul Rudy (electronic music), and James Mobberley (composition pedagogy). While at UMKC he mentored undergraduate composers, and was awarded an assistantship with Zhou Long’s Musica Nova, UMKC’s new music ensemble.