Video Production: Morrosko Vila-San-Juan

Zacarías M. de la Riva: talent, hard work and luck

Zacarías Martínez de la Riva isn’t a conventional composer. His career breaks the myth that an artist is born of vocation and innate ability. He studied telecommunications engineering in Barcelona, his home town, but, following a friend’s advice and letting himself be guided by his passion for the music of John Williams, he ended up in Boston studying composition and creating soundtracks.

For Riva, talent wasn’t enough. He believes the secret of success is hard work, and a bit of luck, which you need to make your way in such a competitive world where it is difficult to get your break. His stroke of luck came when Roque Baños was too busy and turned down an offer to do the music for Tadeo Jones, recommending Riva instead. “He probably regretted it,” Riva tells us with a contagious smile. Now, living in Madrid for the past few years, he is known for his work on this adventure saga and animation in general, a career for which he has just been recognised at the top festival of this genre in our country, the Animac International Film Festival in Lleida. He combines teaching and composing for various genres. In addition to animation, he has created the sound track for everything from the most explicit horror films to the documentaries of Elías Querejeta.

With dozens of awards and nominations, Riva stands out for his classic style, with Williams as his clearest inspiration, with a sophisticated touch and no fear of experimenting: he likes to try new sounds that can enrich the action. He will soon be premiering the music for Bent, a film starring Sofía Vergara, and other animated films.