South African composer Priaulx Rainier was born in Howick in the Colony of Natal on 3 February 1903, into a musical English/Huguenot family.
She studied violin in Cape Town at the South African College of Music, then moved to London to take up a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music, where her teachers were John Blackwood McEwan and Edward Rowsby Woof. She was encouraged in her composing by Arnold Bax and studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris.
Her composition style is athematic, strongly influenced by the African music she heard as a child and uses ostinato effects, which are often percussive. She wrote viarous works for large scale forces, including Phalaphala, her 1956 Requiem, a Cello Concerto for Jacqueline du Pré and the BBC Proms, the orchestral suite Aequora Lunae and a violin concerto, Due Canti e Finale, for Yehudi Menuhin.
Priaulx Rainier died at Besse-en-Chandesse in France on 10 October 1986, aged eighty-three.