Born in San Juan, he pursued his studies at the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music where he studied under the supervision of guitarists Luis E. Juliá and Alberto Rodríguez Ortiz. He also studied composition with various professors such as: Manuel Ceide, Carlos Cabrer and William Ortiz. After completing his studies in Puerto Rico, John traveled to Italy to study with composer Luca Cori in Milan and with guitarist Oscar Ghiglia at the Incontri chitarristici di Gargnano.
During his career as a performer, John has dedicated himself to the study and interpretation of contemporary music. He's been responsible for the commission and premier of works by Rafael Aponte Ledée, Carlos Carrillo, Alberto Rodriguez Ortiz, Carlos Cabrer and William Ortiz. In 2015 he recorded his debut album titled Fronteras, a CD dedicated to the music of contemporary composers from Puerto Rico and Cuba. In December 2018 he made his debut as guest soloist with the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra with Maximiano Valdés as conductor interpreting Manuel Ponce's Concierto del Sur.
As a composer, his works have been performed in Puerto Rico, Spain, Cuba, Italy, El Salvador, the United Kingdom and the United States by groups such as the Soundscapes Festival Sinfonietta and the El Salvador Symphony Orchestra. He has worked closely with conductors such as German Cáceres and Matilda Hoffman who have presented his works.
In 2019 he was awarded the Anthony and Susan Chow Scholarship, which gave him the opportunity to continue his graduate studies in composition at the King’s College London under the supervision of Silvina Milstein.
Among his current projects is his recently formed duo with the world renowned classical guitarist Dieter Hennings. Duo Contradanza originated with the purpose of exploring new avenues of repertoire outside the conventional classical guitar duo canon. Hennings and Rivera Pico started collaborating at the SoundSCAPES new music festival in Italy and have joined forces to commission new works and celebrate new pieces written since the last quarter of the twentieth century.