BIOGRAPHY & CONTACT
BRIAN HARNETTY is an interdisciplinary artist whose work explores how listening and sound might foster social change. His current projects bring together place, myth, history, ecology, and economy in Appalachian Ohio, informed in part by his family's roots in the region.
Harnetty is a recipient of both the A Blade of Grass Fellowship for Socially Engaged Art in Contemplative Practices (2018) and the Creative Capital Performing Arts Award (2016). His creative process uses a hybrid of media, including sounds, images, music, and words. Rooted in socially engaged art, his work flows between the fields of performance and recordings, installation and writing. Beginning with communities and the archives connected to them, the projects move outward to include intimate portraits of everyday people and landscapes of Appalachia; stories that evoke the subjects of place, ecology, labor, race, economy, and energy extraction. For nearly two decades, this has led to projects with the Berea College Appalachian Sound Archives in Kentucky, the Sun Ra/El Saturn Archives in Chicago, and the Anne Grimes Collection in the Library of Congress.
Harnetty has released five internationally acclaimed albums: Shawnee, Ohio (2019), Rawhead & Bloodybones (2015), The Star-Faced One (2013), Silent City (2009), and American Winter (2007). Harnetty’s music is on Karl Records (Berlin), Dust-to-Digital (Atlanta), Atavistic (Chicago), Winesap Records (Ohio), and Scioto Records (Ohio). He has collaborated with many musicians, including Will Oldham (Bonnie “Prince” Billy), Anna Roberts-Gevalt (Anna & Elizabeth), Fred Lonberg-Holm, and Paul De Jong (The Books). Harnetty has written articles and essays for The Daily Yonder, 100 Days in Appalachia, New Music Box, Experimental Music Yearbook, Sound Effects, Rethinking Marxism, and Cultural Studies. He has received two Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Awards (2016, 2003); commissions from the Wexner Center for the Arts, Duke Performances, and Contemporary Arts Center (Cincinnati); artist residencies at the Headlands Center for the Arts (California), Marble House Project (Vermont), and Loghaven (Tennessee); and additional grants and fellowships from the National Performance Network, Berea College Appalachian Sound Archives, and the Promusica Chamber Orchestra. He recently received 5/5 stars from MOJO Magazine for Shawnee, Ohio, and his 2013 release, The Star-Faced One was MOJO Magazine’s Underground Album of the Year.
Harnetty earned a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Arts at Ohio University. He studied with Michael Finnissy and was mentored by Steve Martland at the Royal Academy of Music, London, where he received an M.Mus. in Music Composition. He earned a B.Mus. in Music Composition and Theory from The Ohio State University. Harnetty lives in Columbus, Ohio. He was recently an AmeriCorps Volunteer (2018-19) in Shawnee, Ohio, and continues to work for non-profit organizations in Appalachian Ohio, helping to enact social and environmental change in the region.