Bhob Rainey

2013 Pew Fellow

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.


Jazz Bridge presents a concert featuring sets by jazz guitarist Pat Martino and jazz pianist and Pew Fellow Uri Caine.

Grants & Grantees

Choral Arts Philadelphia presented two concerts exploring liturgical practice with a focus on mystical traditions—sacred and secular, ancient and contemporary.

Composer Mike Bullock presents the inauguration of the Philadelphia Embassy of the international art project, The Kingdoms of Elgaland-Vargaland (KREV).

Grants & Grantees

Filmon Mebrahtu is a media artist and a 2005 Pew Fellow.

Albright’s work in film spans documentary, installation, poetic animation, and short- and long-form narrative. One of his works-in-progress is Ceramic Flowers, a modern mash-up of The Odyssey and Ulysses, set in Las Vegas.

Grants & Grantees

Sheila M. Sofian is a filmmaker and a 1997 Pew Fellow.

Grants & Grantees

Ken Kalfus is a 2009 Pew Fellow and the author of two collections of stories, Thirst and Pu-239 and Other Russian Fantasies, both of which were New York Times notable books.

In this month’s Pew Fellows news highlights, novelist Beth Kephart describes seeing the landscape of her unwritten novel through the eyes of videographer Lori Waselchuk. Composer Bhob Rainey makes music out of squid neurons and mathematical formulas, and poet Major Jackson discusses the simple act of paying attention.

Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture’s Hazami Sayed on re-interpreting musical traditions for contemporary audiences, raising awareness of Arab arts and culture, and more.

Grants & Grantees

Barbara Attie is a media artist and a 2005 Pew Fellow.

Located in Fairmount Park, Shofuso was built in Japan in 1953, using traditional techniques and materials, and moved to Philadelphia in 1958.

On Monday, June 15, 2015, we announced and honored the 2015 grantees of The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage with a celebration at the Curtis Institute of Music.