Primary Instrument: Guitar
Dr. William S. Rayner has been a musician since he was a child growing up in Amityville, Long Island. At an early age, he took piano lessons and then began to play the drums as a teenager. When he was 16, he was introduced to the music of the legendary blues guitarist BB King, as well as classic rock artists such as Jimmy Hendrix and the Rolling Stones. He gradually fell more in love with these artists and began to play guitar at the age of 18. Since then, the guitar became his primary instrument.
Dr. Rayner attended Emerson College alongside famous colleagues such as Denis Leary, Steve Wright, and founder of MTV, Doug Herzog. Although he graduated from Emerson with a bachelor of arts in English Literature, he then attended Five Towns College for an undergraduate degree in Jazz Performance. While attending Five Towns College he played guitar for a band named Monad and the Electrons, who were usually billed with The Stray Cats. After graduating from Five Towns College, he attended graduate school at Long Island University at CW Post for a degree in Music Composition. He then attended school at New York University for his PhD in the same field.
While Dr. Rayner was studying for his PhD at NYU, he played gigs with reputable artists such as Herbie Hancock, Phillip Glass, and The Temptations while doing studio work for Jerry Harrison of The Talking Heads. He also collaborated with other composers such as C.J. Luten, and Dave Douglas and began mentoring students. Dr. Reyner became an advisor at the Gallatin School of Independent Study at NYU in 1999. He is currently a member of the Assistant Adjunct Professors at the Steinhardt School of Education and a member of the Arts Faculty. As a professor, Dr. Reyner teaches classes in songwriting, playing jazz, guitar, and arts workshop. The shows Dr. Rayner participates in at Café Vivaldi usually take place about once every month. His band mates are current and previous students of his. Besides playing jazz, he also writes, sings, and plays guitar for the band Last Generation, under the pseudonym “Billy Rock.” Dr. Rayner is also currently a composer for film, television, and radio. Near his residence in Long Beach, NY, he owns his own studio to work on these various projects.