Bhob Rainey

30 Nov 2016


Bhob Rainey, 2013 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.

"If one believes, as I do, that a major function of art is to carve out a space (or time) where living is possible, then one cannot readily discard any of the voices of the world's creativity."

Bhob Rainey (b. 1972), a soprano saxophonist and composer, performs as a solo artist, as one half of nmperign (an improvisational duo with trumpeter Greg Kelley), and as leader of the BSC, an eight-member ensemble that uses both acoustic and electronic instruments. He formed the BSC to address the inherent challenge of performing longer works with multiple improvisational artists. "Improvisers have a tendency to try to make sense of their gestures too quickly, eclipsing opportunities for mystery, surprise, and a listener's engagement," Rainey says. "I help musicians suspend that sense-making while still remaining present and attentive to a piece's overall form." After 18 years spent living in Boston, with stints in Chicago and New Orleans, Rainey has returned to his hometown of Philadelphia. He holds an M.A. in jazz composition from the New England Conservatory of Music, and his music has been supported with grants from Meet the Composer and United States Artists. In 2014, the Philadelphia chapter of the American Composers Forum awarded Rainey a Subito grant for Axon Ladder, a collaborative multimedia performance installation with filmmaker and musician Catherine Pancake. His current interests lie in new realms of artistic possibility, from cross-disciplinary collaboration to digitally generated source material.

Bhob Rainey, "Levitate," from the soundtrack for a film of the same name by Leah Ross, 2013.