Steve Rivera | Dividing the Darkness

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Dividing the Darkness

by Steve Rivera

Dividing The Darkness, features Steve Rivera's original compositions, along with other amazing musicians and brought together by producer Mr. Will Ackerman. This music has restrained simplicity that is emotionally moving.
Genre: New Age: Contemporary Instrumental
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. My Way Home (feat. Charlie Bisharat)
6:14 album only
2. This Ancient Road
5:42 album only
3. Help Me to Listen
4:27 album only
4. Skyward
5:22 album only
5. Beautiful Years
5:03 album only
6. So Quickly Gone (feat. Will Ackerman)
4:30 album only
7. Delicate Force
5:45 album only
8. Valley of Light
3:58 album only
9. Skyward Coda
3:47 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Dividing The Darkness was produced by Will Ackerman, Grammy winning producer, recipient of multiple Gold & Platinum records and founder of Windham Hill Records.

Track # 1 My Way Home
• Steve Rivera - Piano
• Charlie Bisharat - Violin
• Eugene Friesen - Cello
• Jeff Haynes - Percussion
• Tony Levin - NS Bass
• Noah Wilding - Vocals

Track # 2 This Ancient Road
• Steve Rivera - Piano
• Jill Haley - English Horn
• Eugene Friesen - Cello
• Jeff Haynes - Percussion
• Tom Eaton - Electric Bass & Electric Guitar

Track # 3 Help Me to Listen
• Steve Rivera - Piano
• Premik Russell Tubbs - EWI
• Jeff Haynes - Percussion
• Tom Eaton - Electric Bass & Keyboards

Track # 4 Skyward
• Steve Rivera - Piano
• Charlie Bisharat - Violin
• Tony Levin - NS bass
• Noah Wilding - Vocals
• Eugene Friesen - Cello
• Jeff Haynes - Percussion

Track # 5 Beautiful Years
• Steve Rivera - Piano
• Jill Haley - English Horn
• Eugene Friesen - Cello

Track # 6 So Quickly Gone
• Steve Rivera - Piano
• Will Ackerman - Guitar
• Tom Eaton - Keyboards

Track # 7 Delicate Force
• Steve Rivera - Piano
• Jeff Haynes - Percussion
• Noah Wilding - Vocals
• Tom Eaton - Electric Guitar and Keyboards

Track # 8 Valley of Light
• Steve Rivera - Piano
• Gus Sebring - French Horn
• Tom Eaton - Electric Bass , Percussion & Keyboards

Track # 9 Skyward Coda
• Steve Rivera Piano

Dividing The Darkness was Produced by Will Ackerman
Edited, mixed and mastered by Mr. Tom Eaton
All music recorded at Imaginary Roads Studio
(Charlie Bisharat recorded at Village Studios).
Photography by Hollie Adams Photography
Design/Layout Sujeet Paul
© 2015 steveriveramusic



to write a review


This album has beautiful music which inspires quiet reflection and inward contemplation. Every time I hear it, a smile emanates from my soul.

Candice Michelle

Review from Journeyscapes Radio
“Dividing the Darkness” is pianist and composer Steve Rivera’s second album, this one having been produced by Windham Hill founder and guitarist Will Ackerman, and recorded at Will’s Imaginary Road Studios. Tom Eaton also co-produced and mastered the album, as well as plays keyboards, percussion, electric guitar and bass on various tracks. In addition to Steve’s dynamic and poised piano playing throughout, he is also joined by other musicians who lend varying instruments to eight of the nine tracks total, including Charlie Bisharat on violin, Eugene Friesen on cello, Jill Haley on English horn, Gus Sebring on French horn, Tony Levin on bass and Jeff Haynes on percussion. Noah Wilding’s ethereal wordless vocals also grace many of the compositions.

“My Way Home” opens the album with piano, followed by violin, cello, bass and subdued percussion. One can almost envision a lissome couple dancing in a spacious room to this serene yet uplifting tune. A particular highlight is “This Ancient Road”, with its steady, focused melody accompanied by horn, cello, percussion and electric bass and guitar. I’m especially fond of the slower-paced “So Quickly Gone”, as Will Ackerman’s acoustic guitar adds perfect warmth to this piece, bringing to mind the comfort of cozying up by a fireplace. Another lovely, interesting tune is the appropriately named “Delicate Force”. Its piano sequence reminds me of a rainstorm that slowly intensifies, offering an intriguing contrast between the rich and flowing upper-key melody with the more staccato lower-key notes and percussion, as Noah’s airy voice whirls about the composition like wind through the rain. The closing number, “Skyward Coda”, is the album’s only solo-piano piece, initially beginning with a straight-forward and bright melody. It is then followed by a twenty-three second pause towards the middle of the track, before switching to a different improvised tune with distant nature sounds and a delicate quality.

Queuing up “Dividing the Darkness” is like pulling back the curtains of a window and letting in the morning sunlight. The compositions mostly exude a similar mood throughout, possessing a soothing, gentle aura and a light touch of innocence. Steve has crafted a superb album of elegant, melodic piano music which is complimented by an array of likewise engaging instruments. “Dividing the Darkness” will surely appeal to many listeners who particularly enjoy new age piano, neoclassical and contemporary instrumental music.

Steve Sheppard, One World Music Radio

from One World Music Radio
Debut artist Steve Rivera has made an amazing start by creating Dividing the Darkness and bringing that manifestation to us the eager listener, and using the golden touch of Will Ackerman and Tom Eaton to produce the album, is also a touch of sublime genius.
The opening performance on the piece My Way Home is powerful and deeply moving, one really feels like a long journey is about to end and the time taken to travel that road has been tough, there have been hard times, but it’s been worth it; including the talents of the utterly brilliant Charlie Bisharat on Violin was just another added stroke of mastery.
The titles to the tracks on this new release are evocative and allow great potential imagery to form, like the composition This Ancient Road, Rivera’s piano creates for us a sensation of a long and tired age of wisdom, we can visualise a pathway through the woods that has lived through the eons of time, Oak’s hang their tired limbs limply in the harsh summer heat, all of that I see in this incredible arrangement and Jill Hayley’s English Horn aids that deep and moving vista to manifest even further, this is a truly memorable track.
We move to a piece called Help Me to Listen, Steve Rivera has such a skill, he fills our emotions on this track with such a mournful repose and plays almost directly to our heart with such a sublime tenderness, Tom Eaton also features here, with some very subtle but pertinent keyboards.
Look up and it’s time to go Skywards, the tempo is slightly elevated here as Rivera brings us a composition bathed in hope, the smooth full flowing performance by the artist is a delight to listen to, as is Eugene Friesen’s performance on Cello and don’t forget to listen out for the incredibly sensitive vocal section by Noah Wilding either, all combined, this piece is a very charming arrangement indeed.
Into the second half of the album you will come across a beautiful track dear constant listener and reader, called Beautiful Years. There is something so very warming about this piece, it’s played with such a respectful hand on the keys, it is as if the artist himself is recalling many magical moments of the past whilst performing.
From the last track of recognising the beauty in time, we now move to a composition that reflects, in a deeply moving way, the last moments of time in the arrangement and called, So Quickly Gone, I am constantly telling people to make the most of their lives, enjoy and have fun, because as the title states, it’s So Quickly Gone. Will Ackerman plays a beautiful reflective guitar, while Tom Eaton’s keyboards add another layer of mood to this profound and heartfelt song.
I found Delicate Force not only an interesting title, but a fascinating composition. Jeff Haynes features once more on percussion, but Rivera’s performance is one that creates light, but almost weaves an intricate narrative whilst doing so, the pauses only further add a deeper layer of suspense and drama. The tempo change then hits us, which manifests an almost soundtrack style to the piece, this was quite brilliant and extremely clever.
We have now arrived at the penultimate track off the album and it’s called Valley of Light, the aspect here is truly light filled in musical appearance and contains some of the best French Horn I have heard for some time via Gus Sebring, the uplifting energy of this piece creates a beautiful atmosphere for us all to enjoy before we prepare to leave our musical journey with Steve Rivera.
So our sojourn in the world created for us by the artist is now closing, and as that veil falls, we are gifted one last number for us to take along our way and it is called Skyward Coda, you will also find a 25 second pause in this piece, now I don’t think that’s ever been done before, but to find out why it was, you’re going to need to listen to the Debut Artist Show on One World Music Radio, where all is revealed.
Steve Rivera on this debut release has created something extremely clever and very appealing for the musical soul to enjoy, he has manifested a release filled full of emotional, uplifting and inspiring pieces and included some of the finest musicians in the business today to help him, with the magic touch of Ackerman and Eaton, this is one album that is going to be destined for big things to come.

Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
Pianist/composer Steve Rivera’s first album, "The S Collection," was released in 1997. 1,100 copies were sold exclusively through Nordstrom’s Gift Gallery and three pieces were played on Nordstrom’s Muzak System nationwide. That opened a lot of doors for Rivera, but he didn’t release his second album until now. "Dividing the Darkness" was produced by Will Ackerman and Tom Eaton, and what a beauty it is! Backed by the stellar line-up of musicians at Imaginary Road Studios, Rivera’s gorgeous piano work sings, soars, dances, and weeps. Eight of the nine tracks on this outstanding album are ensemble pieces for piano and a variety of instruments and the ninth is a piano solo.

Rivera started learning to play the piano from his father (also a musician) at the the age of eight and by the time he was thirteen, he was playing at church functions and in bands ranging from punk rock and alternative to blues and jazz. After high school, Rivera realized that music was what he wanted to pursue in life. He majored in composing and conducting at Hope University, toured as a member of a singing group, and interned at several churches as an assistant music director. He has composed, performed, and recorded for several musical theatre productions, has scored a film, and performs at a number of upscale restaurants, resorts and clubs in Southern CA. "Dividing the Darkness" is certain to broaden his audience and following considerably!

"Dividing the Darkness" begins with “My Way Home,” a warm and gentle piece that features Charlie Bisharat (violin), Eugene Friesen (cello), Jeff Haynes (percussion), Tony Levin (NS bass), and Noah Wilding’s ethereal vocals along with Rivera’s piano. The simple melody is heartfelt and direct, and the lead musicians share the spotlight - a very promising start! “This Ancient Road” goes darker and more poignant, this time featuring Friesen, Haynes, Jill Haley (English horn), and Tom Eaton (electric bass and guitar). “Help Me to Listen” is a deeply personal prayer that is simple and sincere. Premik Russell Tubbs adds an earthy yet haunting quality with electronic wind instruments - a favorite. “Skyward” begins with a flowing piano intro before Bisharat, Levin, Wilding, Friesen, and Haynes send it soaring to the heavens. “So Quickly Gone,” a trio for piano, guitar (Ackerman) and keyboards (Eaton) is slow and uncomplicated but makes a deep emotional connection - another favorite. I absolutely love the intense and powerful “Delicate Force.” The piano leads most of the piece, but Wilding’s voice sends chills down the spine while Haynes’ percussion ups the passion and Eaton’s guitar and keyboards add subtle colors. This wonderful piece has caused me to repeatedly hit the replay button! The only piano solo is the closing “Skyward Coda.” Peaceful and soothing, this piece is actually in segments with silence between them. The first part is a little more than a minute with about 30 seconds of silence. The second part is even more serene, with lots of reverb for atmosphere, gradually fading away at the end.

"Dividing the Darkness" is a great album that is likely to be on my Favorites list for 2015! VERY highly recommended!

Jason K

Beautiful music from start to finish. The sound is like a much needed sedative for the soul. Steve really knows his way around 88 keys. Highly recommended to all!

Jason K

Beautiful from start to finish. The sound is like a much needed sedative for the soul. This man really knows his way around 88 keys. Highly recommended to all.

Shoshana Michel

Simply beautiful
Dividing the Darkness by Steve Rivera is a beautifully composed and put together album. The composer intertwines his solos with instrumentation that compliments and brings out the beauty of his melodies. It's not often that I like every track on an album, but I did with this CD. If I had to choose my favorite tracks, the last three, Delicate Force, Valley of Light and Skyward Coda would be my picks. I highly recommend adding Dividing the Darkness by Steve Rivera to your listening library.


Instantly calming and absolutely gorgeous! Loved it within seconds of hearing the first song. (:

Michael Diamond (

Review excerpt from Music and Media Focus
Steve Rivera is a gifted pianist/composer who has overcome a number of seemingly insurmountable challenges in life to achieve his long sought-after goals. Now at this point in his ever-evolving career, Steve has truly upped his game with the release of his stunning new album, “Dividing The Darkness.” To fulfill his creative vision for this project, Steve chose to work with one of the premier new age and contemporary instrumental producers in the world; the Grammy winning founder of the legendary Windham Hill Records, Will Ackerman. Along with co-producer/ engineer/ multi-instrumentalist Tom Eaton and Will’s roster of world-class studio musicians at Imaginary Road Studios, Steve has created an album that has garnered critical acclaim from highly regarded reviewers in the genre, as well as award nominations, international radio airplay and chart success.

The album opens with a track called “My Way Home.” One of the first things I noticed while listening was that there was a strong story-telling element to the composition. Although there are no lyrics, its sentimental strains convey evocative images within Steve’s rolling piano arpeggios and creative chord changes. I particularly liked the emotional tone and balance of a track called “Skyward,” that was wistful, yet hopeful, as the song takes wings in its unfolding, buoyed aloft by Steve’s heartfelt piano and the dynamic interplay of his accompanists. True to the album’s title, darker elements such as melancholy and a sense of longing are exquisitely expressed throughout a number of Steve’s compositions. However, as we near the end, the mood shifts and uplifts with a track descriptively called “Valley Of Light.”

One of the things that I’m most impressed by with this album is the level of emotion that Steve has channeled into his compositions and playing, and the resonance it creates in the listener. Each piece could easily stand alone as a powerful solo piano statement, yet is further enhanced by the accompaniment of world-class instrumentalists. Although this is only Steve’s second release, it shows a surprising degree of musical maturity and hints at the potential for even greater works in the future.

To read a full-length feature article on this album, as well as others, please visit:

Doug Miller

Dividing The Darkness by Steve Rivera
The compositions are so moving and the production work so well done that this release literally brought tears to my eyes. The exquisite use of English Horn, Cello, and Violin draws the listener into the deepest emotions on "The Ancient Road". Whereby the sparse use of extra instrumentation on "So Quickly Gone" has the same effect. I really can't say enough about this music. Get a copy and listen to it in a darkened room without distractions to hear what I mean. Great job Steve!
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