[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.

Rainier's postgraduate research at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music [Australia] focused on microtonality and new percussion instrument designs, influenced by the work of American composer Harry Partch. He has since presented lecture-performances on Partch's life, music and guitars at various universities and institutions around the world, including the Harry Partch Archives [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] and the Orpheus Institute [Ghent].

Rainier is a long-standing member of the Dutch ensemble Scordatura [led by violist Elisabeth Smalt] with whom he 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. He has also collaborated with various craftspeople in the UK, Europe and Australia, creating replicas of some of Partch's unique musical instruments. Rainier is currently pursuing doctoral studies at the University of Huddersfield [UK], investigating the intersection of biographical context and creative process in Partch's music.

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], a collection of improvisations and song fragments played on his replica of Partch's Adapted Guitar 1, guided by charts and diagrams of the composer's harmonic theories and structures. 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 original compositions for voice and Adapted Guitar 1.


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