Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (15th–24th November)

This year’s Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival features more than 60 events over 10 days.

The Composer in Residence is Swede Hanna Hartman, with a supporting programme—including works by Ann Cleare, Frank Denyer, Jenny Hval, Christine Sun Kim, Ellen Arkbro and Kelly Jayne Jones—from those who similarly ‘dare to travel around the norm, into quiet, unexpected places where nuance lives on.’ 

There are more than twenty world premieres, including new works from Frank Denyer, Jürg Frey, Magnus Granberg, Georg Friedrich Haas, Hanna Hartman and Naomi Pinnock. Haas’s work, written in homage to abstract painter Bridget Riley, will be premiered by London Sinfonietta There are also a host of UK premieres, including from Thomas Ankersmit, Cat Lamb, Aart Strootman, Barblina Meierhans and Heinz Holliger.

Improvisations are woven throughout the programme, including a concert from saxophonist Evan Parker marking his 75th birthday, as well as a rare appearance on piano from legendary composer Heiner Goebbels, who time-travels back to his days making free-form music with longtime collaborator Gianni Gebbia. And founding member of German rock pioneers Can, Irmin Schmidt performs UK premieres from his album 5 Klavierstücke.

Showcasing the work of artists and composers from the UK, Europe and as far afield as Georgia, Romania and Egypt, hcmf// will also give a platform to some incredible feats of performance, including an ice cello which melts as it plays, and a showcase for the ondes Martenot.

Norwegian experimental pop musician Jenny Hval has spent her career asking a series of intertwining existential questions; her new multi-disciplinary work The Practice of Love considers our intimate relationship with language. American experimental musician and visual artist Christine Sun Kim considers how music is held captive by capitalism, given definitions of etiquette and social order.

Showcasing a multiplicity of voices from around the world, there will be a re-creation of the Romanian/French artist Isidore Isou’s Juvenal Symphony No 4, a rare solo concert for voice and electronics from Egyptian experimental musician, Nadah El Shazly, and a performance of Mikheil Shugliashvili’s Grand Chromatic Fantasyfor three pianos.

This assembly of artists, all speaking with their own unique voices, also includes some notable curiosities: from Switzerland, Luigi Archetti has developed a monumental 7-hour electronic noise marathon, Null, which will be presented over the course of a day. From France, ondes Martenot virtuoso Nadia Ratsimandresy will deliver a concert of premieres, showcasing her customised version of one of the most singular instruments of the 20th century.

Weaving a surreal dimension into festival proceedings, the University of Huddersfield’s edges ensemble will create incidental theatre as its members perform choice pages from Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit (1964), the artist’s collection of surrealist passing thoughts.

The group’s ongoing performances begin with a launch event at Queensgate Market’s unique Temporary Contemporary gallery space. The gallery also hosts a selection of music and film works by Claudia Molitor, running throughout the festival. Molitor also returns to present the vinyl launch and a further performance of Decay, an evolving work commissioned by hcmf// in 2018, which has since traveled to Belgium, Scotland and Austin, Texas.

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Originally posted at Composition:Today ©Red Balloon Technology