Headlands Center for the Arts

Carolyn Yarnell

california | music/sound
McLaughlin Awards Program 2020

Artist Statement

A thousand words unspoken, my art is both an expression of—and liberation from—
this material world that my restless soul has found itself temporarily
but so inextricably bound up in.
Being a visual artist, my music explores color and form through the depths of emotion.
Being a musician, my visual work draws from the formal techniques and the spontaneity
of classical musical composition, incorporating counterpoint,
tonal harmony, and improvisation to create both linear and vertical depth.
My works are not always clear representations of places or things,
they are rather like fleeting frozen moments perceived from great distances
through the curved lens of time.

While at Headlands

While in residence at Headlands, I’ll continue composing/orchestrating Yosemite, and the Range of Light… a multi-movement modular orchestral work in progress that consists of 23 movements. The music is greatly varied in length and mood—celebrating nature and beauty, yet also addressing California history and poetry, featuring the prose of Dr. Lafayette Bunnell (one of the first Euro-Americans to enter Yosemite Valley as part of the Mariposa Battalion led by Major Savage); historical text compiled from John McDougal (second governor of California (1851-1852), Chief Tenei’ya (last chief of the Ahwahnechee), Major Savage, and Wovoka (Paiute religious leader of the Ghost Dance movement); and spoken word Native American prayers/wisdom/philosophy combined with Plains Indian Sign Language. In this work, the conductor takes on the role of curator. Depending on the juxtaposition of movements, each performance will have a unique structure.

At Headlands I’ll also be taking lots of photographs, writing, and listening to where spirit shall lead my path.

 

Selected Video and Audio

The Same Sky, composed by Carolyn Yarnell. Video by Eric Wenger and Carolyn Yarnell. Performed by Kathleen Supové, piano.

 

“The Gold Country,” from Yosemite and the Range of Light. Performed by David Alan Miller, Albany Symphony Orchestra, 2006.

 

The Gold Country, score. 2006.

 

Selected Works