Biography

Brian Harnetty is a composer, sound artist, and writer who works with sound archives. 

Deeply involved with local issues of Appalachia and the Midwest, 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 more than a decade, this has led to projects with archives such as the Berea College Appalachian Sound Archives in Kentucky, and the Sun Ra/El Saturn Archives in Chicago. Harnetty's recent work listens to 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. He studied with Michael Finnissy at the Royal Academy of Music, London, where he received an M.Mus. in music composition, and earned a B.Mus. from The Ohio State University.


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Harnetty’s music is on Dust-to-Digital, Atavistic, and Scioto Records. As an author, Harnetty has written for New Music BoxExperimental Music YearbookSound 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 recently released on Dust-to-Digital, called Rawhead and Bloodybones

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