Simon Rackham (born 1964) is an English composer and artist. From 1983-1988, studied composition and French horn at the Royal Academy of Music (London). Probably best known for his work; ‘Which ever way your nose bends’ the first commission by the six piano ensemble Piano Circus, composed as a companion piece to Steve Reich’s ‘Six Pianos’ & released on their eponymous album by Argo Records (UK) in 1992. In the late eighties he co-founded the group ‘3 or 4 composers’ (with Laurence Crane, Helen Ottaway, Melanie Pappenheim & Jocelyn Pook). He has released over seventy albums (mainly music for piano) through CD Baby. The recordings are made using the music notation program 'Finale' to write the score and then 'Pianissimo' virtual grand piano software for the performance. In 2012 his authorized arrangement for solo piano of Steve Reich’s ‘Clapping Music’ was released on the album ‘Which way is up?’. In 2015 he married his long term partner the teacher and artist Paola Paoletti whose work can be seen at: https://paolapaoletti.net/
His music is broadly described as minimalist or post-minimalist being influenced by Terry Riley, Philip Glass et al., but another important influence was the work of the so-called English experimental composers such as Howard Skempton, Michael Parsons & Christopher Hobbs, and his association with Laurence Crane and Graham Fitkin. Many works have a conceptual basis, or work through various processes as in Systems music. Rackham's works are mainly composed within a rigidly defined Diatonic scale. Tempo and dynamics generally remain constant throughout the entirety of a piece. Various albums containing longer pieces ('Harmonium Music', 'Man Made Music', 'Slow Motion Music', 'Audiophilia', 'Triadic Variations' etc.) could be described as being Ambient music. The series of works dealing with fundamental aspects of music; 'Tune', 'Harmony', 'Rhythm' & 'Sixty Minutes' (which is primarily concerned with time) have recently been released. His music has been used by various dance companies, and he has composed incidental music for various plays including the first British production of 'The Man Outside' by Wolfgang Borchert, and 'The Duchess of Malfi' directed by Andrew Visnevski for 'The Cherub Company'. He performed in the original production of Tony Harrison's 'The Trackers of Oxyrhynchus' both in Greece and at the Royal National Theatre London. In the late 80's he played in John Miller's group 'Shopping Trolley' and appears on the album of the same name released by Hannibal records in 1989. After the demise of 'Shopping Trolley' he continued working with John Miller and they released various products under the name 'Ornamental Balustrade'.
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Rackham's work has been exhibited in the UK, Holland and Italy. He has produced a large and diverse body of work, switching between more conventional painting and sculpture (including ceramics) and more conceptual art including Artist's books. Some of his text based work was exhibited and made available through Tanya Peixoto’s ‘bookartbookshop’ (London) in 2002, in an exhibition called ‘In Black and White’. He has also produced photographic and video works as well as hundreds of Gifs. Much of Rackham's visual work is characterized by a continual changing of 'styles', an idea expressed in the 'Stylist Manifesto' in 2002. This is exemplified in the recent over-painting works 'Inflation' where a single canvas is used to paint and over paint many pictures, ('Inflation 2016', 100 paintings, and 'Inflation 2020' 50 paintings).