about

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


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

His postgraduate studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music focused on research into microtonality and new instrument designs, influenced by the work of American composer Harry Partch. Since then he has presented lecture-performances on Partch's life, music and various microtonal guitars at universities and institutions around the world, including the Harry Partch Archives [University of Illinois], the Slade School of Fine Art, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama [London], and the Kunitachi College Of Music [Tokyo].

Since 2017 Rainier has been a member of Dutch new music ensemble Scordatura, performing not only Partch's early chamber music, but also the work of various other composers with a focus on tuning. He has also collaborated with craftspeople in the UK, Europe and Australia, creating replicas of some of Partch's unique musical instruments. Since 2018 Rainier has pursued doctoral studies at the University of Huddersfield, exploring notions of authenticity in Partch's music, its intersection with biography and their relationship to performance practice.


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 as a conceptual point of origin, he has explored 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], 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. 2021 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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