Tom Rainey ONZM

As an instrumentalist, arranger, composer, producer, and conductor, Tom maintains an active profile in the NZ Performing Arts scene.

As an instrumentalist on keys and bass, he has performed with a huge variety of artists in many musical styles, including Georgie Fame, John Dankworth, Lee Konitz, James Morrison, Nat Adderly, Harry Secombe, Ronnie Corbett, Max Bygraves, Petula Clark, Renée Geyer, Kamahl, Bic Runga and Hayley Westenra. He has played as support for Cher, Art Garfunkel, Julio Iglesias, the Beach Boys and David Gates, and is a regular contributor to many NZ music festivals, and has played on more than 40 albums.  Tom has been MD for Irish singer Mary Coughlan for various NZ and Australian tours, including performances in the Sydney Opera House.

As one of NZ’s leading arrangers, his credits include more than 130 orchestrations for artists such as Malcolm McNeill, Tim Beveridge, Judd Arthur, Ali Harper, Hayley Westenra, Whirimako Black, Madeleine Pierard, Bic Runga and Russell Watson.  His arrangements have been performed by all the NZ regional orchestras, the NZSO, the Australian Pops Orchestra, the Liverpool Philharmonic and London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, including performances in Europe, Asia, Australia and the US, including Carnegie Hall.

A particular interest in mixing popular styles with orchestra has seen him initiate, arrange and produce collaborations with Renée Geyer, Midge Marsden, Bic Runga, Julia Deans, Anika Moa and Goldenhorse.  2003’s “Bic Runga – live with the Christchurch Symphony” was nominated for the NZ music awards, and in 2005 he arranged (with Neil Finn) for Bic’s album “Birds” and for feature concerts by Dave Dobbyn and Greg Johnson.  Other work includes the critically acclaimed tour and recording of Salmonella Dub’s “Feel the Seasons Change” with the NZSO.  As conductor and arranger, highlights include Kiwi Jazz with the Christchurch Symphony in (2009), Christchurch Symphony Orchestra’s Kiwi Soul (2011), James Morrison performing Duke Ellington’s Harlem Suite (2012), LA Mitchell and Friends (2013), and a Canterbury Christmas (2015 and 2017). 

Tom’s extensive TV credits over the last 30 years includes numerous documentary and series soundtracks including “Kiwi Kitchen” for TVNZ, and the role of musical director and composer of the childrens’ TV programme “Bumble” (over 350 episodes).  He has also written and produced numerous advertising jingles for clients such as New World, Shell, Pak’n’save, Postie Plus and Kathmandu.  Soundtrack work includes five documentary episodes on the Christchurch earthquakes – “Aftermath”, for Prime (2013), and the title music for University Challenge(2016). 

As a leading educator, Tom has been involved with the evolution and development of CPIT Christchurch Jazz School over the years as a founding tutor and later programme leader.  He has supervised and assessed post graduate studies at Auckland, Massey, Canterbury and Otago Universities.  In 2008 he was appointed Head of the CPIT’s (now Ara) School of Performing Arts, with oversight of the Jazz School, the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Arts (NASDA), and Circo Arts.  In 2012 Tom was appointed to the role of Head of Department, Creative Industries, with oversight of Art and Design, Broadcasting and Performing Arts.  He retired from this role last year after 29 years at Ara to focus on his music career. 

Recent projects include Shapeshifter’s opening concert in the Christchurch Town Hall (2019), conducting and arranging for the 2020 UK album releases by singers Aled Jones and Russell Watson(BMG), arrangements for the NZSO at Nelson Opera in the Park for Tami Neilson and Jason Kerrison(2020), Ali Harpers show and album of the music of Burt Bacharach – The Look of Love, and conducting and arranging for the CSO’s Latin lounge outdoor concert in January 2021

In recognition of his services to music and music education, in the 2020 NZ Queens Birthday honours Tom was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit(ONZM) 

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