about

[Photograph by Fabio Lugaro]

Chris Rainier is a performer, composer/improviser and visual artist from Melbourne, Australia, now based in London.

Over the last decade he has focused on extending the sonic possibilities of the lap steel guitar - particularly the acoustic, hollow-neck Weissenborn - beyond its historical use and context. Drawing on traditional techniques and repertoires, he has explored new musical territories within an improvisational framework, embracing a disparate range of musical influences.

Chris 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], Owen Gaertner [Horse Lords], Diane Cluck and Yuri Landman.


Rainier's research into microtonal music and new instrument designs, influenced by the work of composer Harry Partch, was the focus of his postgraduate studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Since 2013 he has presented performances of Partch's rarely heard works for voice and microtonal guitar, as well as readings and musical extracts from the composer's Depression-era journal Bitter Music. He has also lectured on Partch's life, music and guitars at various universities and institutions around the world, including the Universit√§t Mozarteum Salzburg, the Harry Partch Archives at the University of Illinois, the Slade School of Fine Art in London, the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Kunitachi College Of Music in Tokyo.

In 2017 Chris joined Dutch new music ensemble Scordatura, who perform not only Partch's early chamber music, but also the music of other composers with a focus on tuning. Together with the group he has collaborated with various craftspeople in the UK, Europe and Australia, creating replicas of some of the Partch's unique musical instruments. Since 2018 he is pursuing doctoral studies at the University of Huddersfield, exploring ideas of authenticity in Partch's music and its relationship to performance practice.


Chris' 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. This year will also see the release of Chris' interpretations of Partch's early compositions for voice and microtonal acoustic guitars, some dating back to the 1940's.


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