With a lifelong passion for music and a deep love of cinema, Carlos José Alvarez was destined to compose music for the screen. 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 starring Ruth Negga and Aunjanue Ellis, as well as Lionsgate’s thriller Exposed with Keanu Reeves, Ana de Armas, and Mira Sorvino, the romantic comedy The Islander starring Harry Connick Jr., and most recently the biopic Alina of Cuba: La Hija Rebelde starring James Franco.
His highly acclaimed score for Netflix’s six-part docu-series Cocaine Cowboys: The Kings of Miami, directed by Billy Corben, went on to receive a 2022 Imagen Award nomination. His documentary scores also include HBO’s Revolution Rent, Mossville: Where Great Trees Falls for PBS, 13 Million Voices, Desert Angel and the award winning Cubamerican with Andy Garcia.
Alvarez has also contributed music to the Oscar and Golden Globe Award-winning drama Still Alice, ESPN Series Man In The Arena, and Norman Lear’s Cuban-American remake of One Day at a Time for Netflix. In addition to his work as a music producer, he is also a sought after arranger and has collaborated with singers such as Mexican legend Ana Gabriel and Broadway leading lady Janet Dacal.
He considers his 96-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 producing and arranging his grandmother’s originals songs for her debut self-titled album Angela Alvarez. The album received wide acclaim and led to her historic nomination and subsequent win of the 2022 Latin Grammy Award for Best New Artist, making her the oldest person to have ever won that award. Carlos also served as a co-producer on the 2021 documentary film Miss Angela, narrated and executive produced by Andy Garcia, about his grandmother’s remarkable life story.
Growing up in a Cuban household in South Florida, 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 yearlong fellowship to study conducting in Athens, Greece under maestro Michalis Economou (Athens Symphony Orchestra, Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra).
In his artistic process, Alvarez 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.