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 at the ESMUC [Catalonia College of Music].
The recipient of numerous awards, such as the INAEM Prize 2008 (Spanish National Institute for the Performing Arts and Music - Colegio de España in Paris), the Concours Henri Dutilleux Second Prize 2004 in France, the MasMenos Prize 2016 in Argentina, the Merit Diploma of the Accademia Musicale Chigiana 2002 in Italy, the Cristóbal Halffter Prize 2001, the Frederic Mompou Award 1995 and the SGAE First Prize 2000 (Spanish General Society of Authors and Editors). Futhermore, he has received fellowships from La Caixa (2002-2004), Stanford University (2004-2007), Dorothy Culver (2005), Center Acanthes (2004), Accademia Musicale Chigiana (2002) and AIE-Cursos Manuel de Falla (1998).
His works have been commissioned and performed by musical groups and soloists such as the Orquesta Nacional de España, 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, Trio Kandinsky, Dúo Alberto Rosado-David Apellániz, Roberto Fabbriciani, Georges Pludermacher, Ann Unju Yi, Robert Huw Morgan, Lluïsa Espigolé, Plural Ensemble, Grup Instrumental de València, Kebyart Ensemble or Ensemble Sonido Extremo.
Among his recent works are included his orchestral work Los incensarios (2018), commissioned by the Orquesta y Coro Nacionales de España, premiered by the Orquesta Nacional de España conducted by David Afkham at the Auditorio Nacional de Madrid, his saxophone quartet Parhelia (2018) commissioned and premiered by the Kebyart Ensemble at L'Auditori de Barcelona and his work for mezzo-soprano and ensemble Tão longe de mim -four songs about poems by Fernando Pessoa- (2019), commissioned by the Centro Nacional de Difusión Musical (CNDM) and premiered jointly in Portugal and Spain by the Grupo de Música Contemporãnea de Lisboa in the 2019/2020 season.
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.