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About This Program

Performed with sampled archives, field recordings and live musicians, Brian Harnetty’s Shawnee, Ohio critically engages ecology, energy, place and personal history. Known for his ability to “bring gem recordings up out of the basement and into the light” (New Music Box), Harnetty derives his compositional material from the sounds of production and Appalachian town life, reflecting the experience of a town fighting to survive after a century of economic decline and environmental degradation. The town’s downturn and partial restoration act as an ethos of the struggles and hopes of the larger region, now immersed in a controversial fracking boom. Shawnee, Ohio considers these histories, evokes place through sound, and listens to the present alongside traces of the past. Post-show conversation led by Macalester College Professor of Music Mark Mazullo

“Working like a novelist, [Harnetty] has immersed himself in an archive of field recordings – slices of past lives – and now emerges to create a new text, breathing new life into old chunks of sound by radically recontextualising them.” —The Wire

Liquid Music

This event is part of the SPCO's boundary-defying Liquid Music concert series.
Learn more and buy this event as part of a full Liquid Music subscription package.

No Fiction Festival

True stories and personal histories told through music

Music's ability to get to the emotional heart of a story is the inspiration for The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra’s No Fiction Festival. Programming includes SPCO chamber music concerts at the Capri Theater, Icehouse and Saint Paul Academy on the theme of sisterhood, featuring works by intrepid composers Hildegard von Bingen, the Boulanger sisters (Nadia and Lili), Jessie Montgomery and Dame Gillian Whitehead; Liquid Music presentations of Fanm d’Ayiti, spotlighting women of Haitian song, and Shawnee, Ohio, illuminating life in a small Appalachian mining town; and additional events with partners On Being, Macalester College and Carleton College. Learn more about the entire festival at thespco.org/nofiction.

Please note: The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra does not perform on this program.

Shawnee, Ohio Related Event

Shawnee, Ohio Gallery Installation
Saturday, February 24 through Friday, March 23
Visual and sound art by Brian Harnetty
Weitz Center for Creativity, Carleton College


SPCO concerts are made possible by audience contributions.


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