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Berea Sound Archives Fellowship Topics

Brian Harnetty / Columbus, Ohio / 2005-2006 / Topics: Experimental Music; New Compositions

Brian HarnettyProject: Harnetty focused on identifying and analyzing traditional music for incorporation in a large-scale multiple media work entitled american winter. Brian is from Columbus, Ohio, and received his Master of Music in Composition degree from the Royal Academy of Music in London in 2000. Recently he has served as visiting professor of music at Kenyon College and is presently collaborating on an energy related video project with Appalshop. 


Nate May / Cincinnati, Ohio / 2014-2015 / Topic: New Music Composition

Nate May

Project: Nate May is a composer from Huntington, West Virginia currently living in Cincinnati, Ohio. His Fellowship supported work will result in a 15-20 Minute song cycle for soprano and chamber ensemble based on oral histories of Appalachian migrants and their families. He will conduct interviews with Appalachian residents of Cincinnati and draw from the Berea Sound archives to supplement them with the stories of those who remained in Appalachia while loved ones left for urban areas.


Susan Stenger / Buffalo, New York / 2012-2013 / Topic: Experimental

Susan StengerProject: Susan's Fellowship research will involve an in-depth study of particular aspects of Berea's traditional music collections toward the end of composing a new work for The Kronos Quartet, called "An Untamed Sense of Control" (in reference to Kentucky banjoist, Roscoe Holcomb and his performance style, as described by Bob Dylan). It will be premiered in 2013/14, the group's 40th anniversary season.

The musical interests that have come together in Susan's work include American folk, rock, and post-War experimental music. As a teenager she played in rock bands and then went on to classical flute studies in Prague and New York. She has toured the music of twentieth century composer John Cage, wrote songs, sang and played bass in Band of Susans. Most recently, she has been making sound installations and music for dance, film, and multimedia events.

Sound Strata of Coastal Northumberland CD/BookA fully illustrated 96-page hardback publication accompanied the Sound Strata of Coastal Northumberland exhibition tour, including a CD stereo mix of the installation. This is the first comprehensive solo publication about Susan Stenger and provides detailed information about Sound Strata as well as background on the artist’s practice.


Brendan Taaffe / Brattleboro, Vermont / 2015-2016  / Topic: New Music Composition

Brendan TaaffeProject: Brendan Taaffe’s Fellowship supported research involves working with Kentucky poet Maurice Manning. He will take reworked text from Manning’s celebrated book Bucolics and compose a cycle of 12 new traditional songs, each one based on a song or fiddle tune from the Lomax Kentucky collection. Through publication of a book/cd set and public performance, he will strive to bring attention to the continued relevance of these recordings to the traditional music community and to do so in a way that creates connections with contemporary poetry and academia.

Brendan holds an MA in Musical Performance from the University of Limerick, Ireland (specializing in Irish traditional music on fiddle). As a composer, his choral work is based on traditional American hymnody with a special interest in the shape-note tradition.  His original songs have been performed broadly by community choruses in the USA, UK, and New Zealand and have been published in the most recent edition of Northern Harmony as well as in the collection Mansions in the Sky. He plays fiddle, claw hammer banjo, and guitar and plays for contra dances around the country.