Rainer Schmidt studied in Hanover, Germany and in Cincinnati, USA, with Prof. Atila Aydintan and Dorothy Delay. While in the United States he studied string quartet with Prof. Walter Levin and the other members of the LaSalle Quartet.
In 1987 he joined the Hagen Quartet. Since then he has played all over the world with this ensemble, having their own cycle in Vienna, presenting the complete Mozart and Beethoven quartets at the Salzburg festival, recording for 20 years exclusively for „Deutsche Grammophon“ more than 40 CDs.
Founder in 1989 of the "Ravinia Trio", concerts in Europe, USA and Japan, recordings of many modern works, like Trios by A. Schnabel, E. Steuermann, R. Leibowitz, A. Busch, amongst others.
Since 1988 Rainer Schmidt is teaching at the Universität Mozarteum, between 2002 and 2007 at the Escuela superior Reina Sofia in Madrid, and since 2007 at the Musikhochschule Basel.
Some of the prominent young quartets studied with him.