José Río-Pareja was born in Barcelona in 1973. He earned advanced degrees in Composition, Choral Conducting and Orchestral Conducting at the Conservatori Superior Municipal de Música of Barcelona, where he was awarded Highest Honors in Composition. From 2002 to 2007, he resided in the United States, where he pursued a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Composition at Stanford University under the tutelage of Brian Ferneyhough. Since 2007 he is professor of composition and analysis at the Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya [ESMUC].
The recipient of numerous awards, such as the "INAEM Prize" 2008 (the Spanish National Institute for the Performing Arts and Music and the Colegio de España in Paris), the Concours Henri Dutilleux Second Prize 2004 in France, the Merit Diploma of the Accademia Musicale Chigiana 2002 in Italy, the International Cristóbal Halffter Prize 2001, the Frederic Mompou Award 1995 and the SGAE First Prize 2000 (Spanish General Society of Authors and Editors). Futhermore, José Río-Pareja has received fellowships from La Caixa (2002-2004), Stanford University (2004-2007), Center Acanthes (2004), Accademia Musicale Chigiana (2002), AIE (Society of Performing Artists)-Cursos Manuel de Falla (1998) and the Dorothy Culver Hayne Fellowship (2005).
His works have been commissioned or performed by international soloists and ensembles, such as the Arditti Quartet, ensemble recherche, Ensemble InterContemporain, Ensemble Contrechamps, Ensemble Inauthentica/Mark Menzies, Roberto Fabbriciani, Georges Pludermacher, Ann Unju Yi, Robert Huw Morgan, and Spanish musical groups and performers such as the Ensemble NeoArs Sonora, Ensemble Residencias, Grupo Enigma -Chamber Orchestra of the Auditorium of Zaragoza-, Trio Kandinsky, Alberto Rosado-David Apellániz duo, Carlos Gálvez Taroncher, Lluïsa Espigolé, Kebyart Ensemble, Plural Ensemble, Grup Instrumental de València, Ensemble Sonido Extremo and Trío Arbós.
Among his recent works are included his String Quartet "Tempus fluidum", premiered by the Arditti Quartet, at the Festival Nous Sons of Barcelona (with subsequent performances by the same performers at the Festival Ensems of Valencia, the Transit Festival in Belgium, and Wittener Tage in Germany); his Piano Trio "La rivière sans socle", commissioned by the Catalunya Caixa Foundation for the inauguration of Aristide Maillol exhibition at Gaudí's La Pedrera; Temperamento, commissioned while a composer in residence at the Center for the Diffusion of Contemporary Music "CDMC" 2010; Carácter, commissioned by the Spanish National Institute for the Performing Arts and Music and the Colegio de España in Paris, as a part of a monographic concert of the composer in Paris in 2010; Entheos for solo cello, commissioned by José Miguel Gómez for the 50th Cuenca Religious Music Week 2011; El devenir de la euforia (y la melancolía), commissioned by the Ensemble NeoArs Sonora with fundings from the Instituto Nacional de las Artes Escénicas y de la Música [INAEM] in 2012; Fragile, commissioned by the concertino of the Spanish Radio-Television Orchestra Miguel Borrego in 2013; Ein Rausch im Sonnenglanz, commissioned by the Acht Brücken Festival | Musik für Köln, premiered by the ensemble recherche in Cologne in 2014; and Estrellas variables comissioned by the Centro Nacional de Difusión Musical [CNDM] in 2015.
In 2012 the Verso label and the BBVA Foundation have released a portrait CD with a selection of his chamber works performed by clarinetist Carlos Gálvez Taroncher and Trío Arbós.