Brian Harnetty is a composer, sound artist, and writer who works with sound archives.
Harnetty connects sound archives with performance, ecology, and place. Many of his pieces transform archival material––including field recordings, transcriptions, and historic recordings––into newly re-contextualized sound collages. For the past decade, this has led to a focus on projects with archives such as the Berea College Appalachian Sound Archives in Kentucky, and the Sun Ra/El Saturn Creative Audio Archive in Chicago. Harnetty's recent scholarly work is an ethnographic study of the historic, economic, cultural, and environmental sounds of Appalachian Ohio, informed in part by his family's roots in the region. Harnetty received a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Arts at Ohio University, and degrees in music composition from the Royal Academy of Music, London (M.Mus.), and The Ohio State University (B.Mus.).
Harnetty’s music is on Dust-to-Digital, Atavistic, and Scioto Records. As an author, Harnetty has written for New Music Box, Experimental Music Yearbook, Sound Effects, and Cultural Studies. In 2016, he was the recipient of the Creative Capital Performing Arts Award and the Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award. He has received additional support from the Wexner Center for the Arts, Duke Performances, Contemporary Arts Center (Cincinnati), the National Performance Network, the Ohio Arts Council, and the Promusica Chamber Orchestra. His 2013 release, The Star-Faced One: from the Sun Ra/El Saturn Archives was MOJO Magazine’s Underground Album of the Year. A new recording based on the Berea Archives was released in 2015, entitled Rawhead and Bloodybones. Two additional releases are forthcoming: The Night is Drawing Nigh and Shawnee, Ohio, on the Dust-to-Digital label in Atlanta.