about

[Cafe OTO, London, 12.03.19. Photograph by Fabio Lugaro]


CHRIS RAINIER is a South-African born performer, composer and improviser from Melbourne, Australia, now based in London. 
He received his PhD in Music [by Research] from the University of Huddersfield in 2022. In addition to his thesis The Letter : The Intersection of Biographical Context and Creative Process in the Music of Harry Partch, his doctoral research included outcomes pertaining to performance, recording, transcription and instrument-building. 

Rainier has presented performances and workshops relating to Partch's life, music and guitars at various universities and institutions around the world, including the Harry Partch Archives at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Slade School of Fine Art [London], the Guildhall School of Music and Drama [London], the Kunitachi College Of Music [Tokyo], the Orpheus Institute [Ghent], the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, the University of Amsterdam, the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, the Mozarteum University of Salzburg and the Center for Research in New Music at the University of Huddersfield. As a long-standing member of the Dutch ensemble Scordatura [led by violist Elisabeth Smalt], Rainier has performed not only Partch's early chamber music, but also the work of other composers whose music explores tuning systems outside of equal temperament. Additionally, he has collaborated with various craftspeople in the UK, Europe and Australia, creating replicas of a number of Partch's unique musical instruments. 

Over the last decade Rainier has also explored extending the sonic possibilities of the lap steel guitar - particularly the acoustic, hollow-neck Weissenborn - beyond its historical use and context. Using many of the instrument's traditional techniques and repertoires, he has pursued new musical territories within an improvisational framework, embracing a disparate range of musical influences. He has performed solo and in collaboration with other performers, in a diverse range of concert venues, festivals, art galleries and non-traditional performance spaces, often improvising live soundtracks to film. Solo tours in Europe, Japan, the USA and Australia have seen him share the stage with Masaki Batoh [Ghost/The Silence], Taku Sugimoto, Tetuzi Akiyama, Giovanni di Domenico [Jim O'Rourke], Angharad Davies, Juliet Fraser, Owen Gaertner [Horse Lords] and Yuri Landman.

Rainier's most recent release is the EP 'Yuma' [2020]. This collection of improvisations and song fragments was played on his replica of Partch's first Adapted Guitar 1, guided by charts and diagrams of the composer's harmonic theories and structures, and employs new tunings on the instrument as well as the use of multiple capos. 2022 will see the release of his interpretations of Partch's early compositions for voice and microtonal acoustic guitars - mostly dating back to the 1940's - as well as a new album of Rainier's original compositions for voice and Adapted Guitar 1.


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