Carlos José Alvarez
With a lifelong passion for music and a deep love of cinema, Carlos José Alvarez was destined to compose music for the screen. As a child in a Cuban household, he was exposed to a spectrum of music, ranging from the Cuban masters to the great symphonies. Enthralled by his native music, he began playing percussion at an early age. His formal musical training began at age twelve when he was accepted into a performing arts school where he studied symphonic percussion, music theory and piano. He then continued his studies in percussion and composition at Florida State University. Upon graduation, he was awarded a scholarship to attend the prestigious Berklee College of Music, where he graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Film Scoring. Before moving to Hollywood, he was honored with a year long fellowship to study conducting in Athens, Greece under maestro Michalis Economou (Athens Symphony Orchestra, Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra).
Alvarez’s dynamic versatility is evident through his expanding body of work. His first composing break came in 2009 with his acclaimed score to the supernatural-thriller Deadline, starring Brittany Murphy and Thora Birch. Since then, the emerging composer has scored numerous feature films including the award winning dramas The Road Dance, Of Mind and Music (Ruth Negga and Aunjanue Ellis) as well as Lionsgate’s thriller Exposed (Keanu Reeves, Ana de Armas, Mira Sorvino). His vivacious score for Netflix’s six part docu-series Cocaine Cowboys: The Kings of Miami recently received an Imagen Award nomination. His documentary scores also include HBO’s Revolution Rent, 13 Million Voices, and the critically acclaimed Cubamerican.
In addition, Alvarez has contributed music to the Oscar and Golden Globe Award-winning drama Still Alice (Julianne Moore), ESPN Series Man In The Arena (Tom Brady) and Norman Lear's Cuban-American remake of One Day at a Time for Netflix.
He considers his 95 year old grandmother, Angela Alvarez (aka “Nana”), to be an inspiration in his choice to become a musician. One of his most recent and cherished projects was arranging and producing his grandmother’s originals songs for her debut album while co-producing a documentary about her life with Andy Garcia.
In his artistic process, he considers himself as much a storyteller as a composer. His narrative sensibility and unique talent to craft powerful and moving melodies is quickly making him one of Hollywood's rising composers. Alvarez divides his time in between Los Angeles and South Florida.