Opus 1: Getting to know... John Rivera-Pico - Britten Sinfonia - Blog

Opus 1: Getting to know… John Rivera-Pico

Meet John Rivera-Pico, a composer and guitarist who hails from Puerto Rico.

What are you looking forward to about being part of Opus 1?

Being part of Opus 1 will give me the opportunity to work alongside some of the most distinguished instrumentalists and composers in the UK. Their knowledge and recommendations will surely contribute a great deal to my own work and help me grow as a composer.


Who has been your biggest musical influence so far? 

I believe my biggest musical influence has always been Italian composer Franco Donatoni. His approach to musical composition, as well as his pedagogical contributions to contemporary music have always been quite inspiring.

John Rivera-Pico

  1. What sort of music do you like to write?

I wouldn’t know how to label my music, but certain characteristics that always appear in one way or another are the use of gesture as an important structural component, a constant search for a wide variety of colours and textures, and rhythmic drive.


  1. How did you get into composition?

My first experiences with contemporary music were as a guitarist. I used to play with a contemporary music group called Alea 21, which specialised in improvisation. With the guidance of various teachers, I was able to turn these improvisations into pieces by giving structure and form to the inventiveness that I was developing while playing with this group.


  1. What is your favourite instrument (or voice) to compose for?

I always enjoy writing for percussion, especially the vibraphone.


  1. If you could write a brand new piece for anyone in the world, who would you choose?

I have always been a big fan of Italian pianist Maurizio Pollini – it would be amazing to hear him perform my music.


  1. What 3 pieces of music would you have to have on your desert island? 

Ludwig van Beethoven’s ‘Symphony No. 7’
Claudio Monteverdi’s ‘Vespro della Beata Vergine’
Johann Sebastian Bach’s ‘The Art of Fugue’


Find out more about John’s work here.


Click here to find out more about our other Opus 1 composers