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HCMF01 Sonar Quartett + Juliet Fraser

German string quartet Sonar meetrenowned soprano Juliet Fraser in a concert of ambiguous meaning and definitefeeling. Naomi Pinnock and Heinz Holliger are artists bonded by theiropen-ended style – both of them leave definitive impressions through sparsemusic, the kind that hovers over its listener indefinitely. Rather than fillthe space completely, they open it up, giving each listener the chance to placethemselves within the sounds. A founding member of the radical EXAUDI ensemble,Juliet Fraser lends the perfect voice to Pinnock and Holliger, colouring theirambiguous work with her own expressions. Along with Sonar, she becomes wrappedup in the pieces, experiencing them on the same immersive level as thelistener.

15/11/2019 19:00
HCMF02 The Riot Ensemble: Ann Cleare Portrait
In the first of two concerts at hcmf// 2019, The Riot Ensemble paints a portrait of Ann Cleare, one of Ireland’s leading modern composers. Cleare’s work is a dialogue: her music talks to its environment, as well as its listener, constantly being shaped by the course of nature itself. For this concert, the malleable setting of Huddersfield Town Hall will transform into an open-plan forum; audience members will be immersed in the space, discovering how it carries Cleare’s music. Consummate shape-shifters, The Riot Ensemble are the perfect group to play – and place – Ann Cleare’s music.
15/11/2019 21:30
HCMF03 Ellen Arkbro
Swedish artist Ellen Arkbro creates fixed-stare drone music based around ‘just intonation’, a tuning system adopted in Western music by minimalists such as Terry Riley, La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela. Her new album, CHORDS, doubles down on simple, long-form pieces that explore the blurring effect time has on sound. It’s called CHORDS, in all caps, for a reason – it’s 40 minutes of them. On both of the record’s tracks, though, Arkbro is really playing time, strumming her relative silences like an instrument of intricacies.

At hcmf// 2019, Arkbro has crafted a unique new performance in partnership with electronic musician and long-term collaborator Marcus Pal. Composing music together, their work has provided Arkbro with novel ways to interact with her instrument: juxtaposed with synthetic sound, her music for organ takes on new dimensions.
16/11/2019 13:00
HCMF04 Iced Bodies

American cellist Seth Woods saw a photo of Charlotte Moorman playing a cello, made of ice, in the nude. This is how the Iced Bodies project began. From the photo, Woods pieced together a fascinating tale about Moorman, a performer pulled towards extreme performance. Collaborating with artist Jim McWilliams, she created a cello-shaped sculpture made of ice, using it to perform his piece Iced Music for London. An obscure relic of the New York underground, Woods has dug up the 1972 piece and given it a new perspective, creating his own ‘ice cello’ augmented with electronic sound devices. Rethinking the confrontational performance of Moorman, he’s created a modern installation that considers those frozen out of modern society. He’ll play it until it melts.

16/11/2019 16:00
HCMF05 The Riot Ensemble

The Riot Ensemblemark their second appearance at hcmf// 2019 with a series of performances trueto their name. Renowned for building deep, long-standing relationships withcomposers, the ensemble is one of the world’s best for guiding radical musicinto the world. In this concert, they premiere four pieces they’ve worked onwith musical innovators around the world. St Paul’s Hall is a home fixture forthem by now,and they fill the space with a familiar crackle of energy. 

16/11/2019 19:00
HCMF06 Decay / Sofia Jernberg
Claudia Molitor’s Decay has lived a life. Debuted in a slow-burning concert at hcmf// 2018, the piece was conceived as a timelapse. Each new performance transformed the piece, giving it new experiences and inflections. A meditation on the slow-releasing transformations that mark life – the subtle, impossible to capture moments that age us for good – Decay has become completely different. Having travelled to the Netherlands and Texas, the piece now returns to hcmf// 2019 for its final concert. Molitor and her performance partner Tullis Rennie are joined by saxophonist John Butcher and violinist Alison Blunt, closing the lifecycle on a fascinating music project – one that’s lived and breathed.
16/11/2019 21:45
HCMF07 Norrbotten Neo
Swedish chamber ensemble Norrbotten NEO move into their second decade with the same fearless agenda that’s carried them there. At hcmf// 2019, they perform a series of pieces by internationally renowned composers, including the conservationist sound art of Malin Bång and the uncompromising abstractions of Enno Poppe. The ensemble will also celebrate the late sound artist Marcus Fjellström, known for abstracting the classical music he was trained in. Works from hybridising artists Kate Moore and Per Mårtensson complete the programme.
17/11/2019 13:00
HCMF08 Hanna Hartman: Hurricane Season
Composer In Residence Hanna Hartman combines her practices in this concert of new works. A piece of tape music, HEAT is a prime example of Hartman’s dedication to collecting and redistributing sound, altering both course and context. A preview of the piece is followed by the world premiere of Hurricane Season, which combines Hartman’s signature trade of electronics and found objects.
17/11/2019 17:00
HCMF09 Jenny Hval: The Practice of Love
The Practice of Love is a multidisciplinary immersion in music, literature and movement by Norwegian musician, composer and writer Jenny Hval. It will explore sonic, visual and choreographic ideas while transforming voices, sounds and even bodies into texts, in a process that Hval herself describes as a form of magic. With a multinational ensemble including experimental musicians, vocalists, dancers and video artists, this new project extends Hval’s work into new and even more challenging territory.
17/11/2019 19:00
HCMF10 Heiner Goebbels + Gianni Gebbia
A celebrated composer, pianist and director, Heiner Goebbels is also renowned for his rare and much coveted improvisations. It has been a long time since he performed that way, but at hcmf// 2019, he delivers one of these very rare performances, switching creative modes for a concert of exploratory free-playing on piano. Rocking up to St Paul’s with him is experimental saxophonist and long-time musical collaborator Gianni Gebbia, dropping Goebbels back into the deep end and providing him with speculative ideas to bounce off of.
17/11/2019 21:00
HCMF11 Wet Ink 1
Wet Ink is a collective of musical brain-stormers versed in performing, composing and improvising. The New York ensemble takes a different tack to playing music, opting for co-operative and non-hierarchical approaches that take on what they describe as a ‘band’ atmosphere. In the first of two daytime concerts at hcmf// 2019, they premiere new works by Huddersfield-based composers Pierre Alexandre Tremblay and Kristina Wolfe, alongside Wet Ink member Sam Pluta’s new work Lines on Black. A piece that captures the ensemble playing it, Pluta’s piece is a kind of musical test, a stop-start network of written music and empty space – just waiting for a bit of band improv.
19/11/2019 14:00
HCMF12 TEMKO + Slagwerk den Haag
With WALL, composer and instrument builder Aart Strootman turns his bespoke musical objects into political metaphor. The ‘wall’, in these times, is a stand-in, a symbol of our globe’s rising taste for populism and racism – a legacy not created but certainly accelerated by US president Donald Trump. These barriers exist everywhere, and can even be found in polices being implemented in Strootman’s home country of the Netherlands. With WALL, Strootman considers the destructive effects of barriers, and the discursive ripples they’re causing throughout the world. Using newly made instruments – ‘glass marimbas and microtonal tube clocks’ – he erects his own boundary, his own ‘impenetrable sound barrier’.
19/11/2019 19:00
HCMF13 Nadah El Shazly
Nadah El Shazly is one of many musicians leading the new wave of experimental music in Egypt. Based in Cairo, the last few years have seen her compose the thrilling, large-scale opus Ahwar, a record that realises her experiences of jazz, electronic and rock music, blowing up each into the widescreen of a big band. The record is a testament to El Shazly’s open-ended approach: to make an experimental music that engages every possible sound source. At hcmf// 2019, she reverts to her economical set-up of voice and electronics, supplementing her vocal experiments with trusty keyboards. Following her improvisational instincts, the concert will find her in labyrinth-making mode once again, creating a journey as unexpected as the one lurking in Ahwar.
19/11/2019 21:00
HCMF14 Wet Ink 2
In their second concert at hcmf// 2019, American ensemble Wet Ink perform three new works written specially for them. The programme includes a new work from Charmaine Lee, a frequent guest collaborator of Wet Ink’s and rising star of the New York experimental scene. Lee’s exploration of the voice as a tool that can be altered through electronics – rendered differently in new media – has provided us with music like no other. The ensemble also perform Dead Time, a stunning new work by Huddersfield composer Bryn Harrison that maps moments in time that are ’neither eventful nor vital’ – a rare phenomenon, in our current climate. They complete their stay at the festival by playing a puzzle: Eric Wubbels’ modules/relationships has no definitive structure or order of play, and invites Wet Ink to shuffle it at will. The piece was written to showcase the fluidity of Wet Ink – it should send you off without any doubt of their ability to imagine themselves into any musical scenario.
20/11/2019 12:00
HCMF15 S4
Building on the legacy of free-jazz soprano player Sidney Bechet, S4 attempt to pry open the possibilities of the smallest, most underrated member of the saxophone family. With all four members playing soprano, they create an array of ambient textures and noisy caterwauling, calling on a range of extended techniques. Their improvisations reveal the secrets of their curious instrument, continuing the experimental groundwork laid down by players such as John Coltrane, Steve Lacy, Evan Parker and La Monte Young.
20/11/2019 19:00
HCMF16 Skogen
Magnus Granberg’s music happens in chain reactions. He writes detailed pieces that somehow feel incidental, with instruments passing notes between one another in whispered conversation. It is a kind of acoustic music like no other, so confident in its quietness that it sounds as if someone had recorded the natural sounds of an empty room. For his newest work, Let Pass My Weary Guiltless Ghost, Granberg’s ensemble Skogen will once again form a circle, exchanging quiet fractures of sound between their acoustic instruments.
20/11/2019 21:00
HCMF17 James Oesi / Maya Fridman
Double bassist James Oesi has transformed his instrument into a mainstay of solo performance, taking apart its tradition as a band tool. In a concert of virtuoso workouts, he premieres a series of new works that highlight his intricate understanding of the bass – drawing on different worlds and converting them to his.

Cellist Maya Fridman has spent the last couple of years going from emerging to accomplished, becoming one of music’s most in-demand soloists. Well-versed in playing demanding and imaginative new music, she will perform Canti d’Inizio e Fine, the overwhelming new work by composer Maxim Shalygin. A song cycle in six parts, each movement of Canti d’Inizio e Fine represents a different ‘imaginary folder in the Holocaust victims directory, called after a segment of the German alphabet, and assigned to one out of six Angels of Death’. The music – at times rhythmic, at others sober and meditative – is an attempt to depict the horrors experienced in the concentration camps.
21/11/2019 12:00
HCMF18 We Spoke
The last time We Spoke came to hcmf//, they spent half a concert locked in combat with several dozen plastic bags. Doesn’t it ultimately make a lot of sense that they’ll open their concert at this year’s festival by moving around cardboard? Along with performing Termite Territory, a new work by familiar face Hanna Hartman, the ensemble will perform a series of musical games, accepting challenges and then doing battle with them. Expect everything from chess boards to electronic helmets – the kind of things We Spoke love to go apoplectic over.
21/11/2019 16:00
HCMF19 Irmin Schmidt
A founding member of German rock pioneers Can, keyboardist Irmin Schmidt performs music from his album Klavierstücke, breaking down composition into ambient incident. Within the confines of his old band, Schmidt was responsible for catering to the psychedelic rhythms that have influenced a generation of rock music; as a composer, his music is sparse and spectral, paying credence to space and silence. Drawing on his work as a soundtrack composer, the pieces Schmidt will perform reflect their spontaneous beginnings as stray thoughts, marrying his history of writing music for the piano to his time as a fearless improviser.
21/11/2019 19:00
HCMF20 Kelly Jayne Jones
A committed collaborator, Kelly Jaynes Jones is interested in building networks and relationships with her music, and in creating communal experiences. It’s led her into a series of projects with differently interactive elements, involving visual motifs, choreography and audience participation. She recently created and toured a performance with Matana Roberts, the free-jazz saxophonist and noisemaker behind the revelatory COIN COIN project. Her appearance at hcmf// 2019 is collaborative, too: working alongside visual artist Dan Valentine, she’s created an installation through which she will perform, hoping to ‘connect with other dimensions’. It’s an extremely Kelly Jayne Jones way of going about things. We can’t help but take her word for it.
21/11/2019 22:30
HCMF21 Grand Chromatic Fantasy (Symphony for 3 Pianos)
Georgian composer Mikheil Shugliashvili conceived Grand Chromatic Fantasy, his masterwork, in the 1970s – over an extended period of four years. It was a long process, and for good reason: Shugliashvili was writing the most important music of his life. It came in a period of dramatic stylistic upheaval – he had always been a misunderstood avant-garde composer, but during the 70s he took a nosedive, eschewing all stylistic traditions and reaching for musical extremes. Grand Chromatic Fantasy is his most memorable piece. It’s the most dread-inducing thing you’ll hear this year – an hour-long epic of clustering catastrophes.
22/11/2019 12:00
HCMF22 Ensemble Contrechamps
Coming self-described as an ‘ensemble of soloists’, Contrechamps fuses together 21 peoples’ worth of creative determination, striving to deliver the best and most boundless music currently being made. This concert puts their breadth of interests front and centre, with premieres from New York sound designer Christine Sun Kim and Swiss maverick Barblina Meirhans, along with works by Éric Gaudibert and Ivan Fedele.
22/11/2019 19:00
HCMF23 The Arsenal of Unlived Things
The way Mayke Nas talks about her music, you’d think you were an accomplice, there at the moment she commits her crimes. The Dutch composer dares and probes, recalibrating the listener’s self-conscious until it’s working on her level, until certain lunacies feel entirely within their rights. With The Arsenal of Rude Things, she’s created a large-scale opera, expanding on the thought experiments and mind games that have marked her career.
23/11/2019 15:00
HCMF24 The Fish that became the Sun
For Frank Denyer, the music is enough. Without theme or affair, he has spent his career writing music of quiet visceral effect, creating gorgeous music focused on little more than melody and timbre. Composed three decades ago, The Fish that became the Sun is his opus. It’s such a grand undertaking that it’s never been performed in full before. That the piece is comprised of a lot of instruments – over eighty, in fact – is one thing. That they’re all newly invented is another. Denyer has kept the piece in the back of his mind: as he said to VAN Magazine, ‘The one thing I want to get done in this life is to get it performed’. In 2019, hcmf// is proud to play host to the boldest and most beautiful music of Denyer’s career.
23/11/2019 17:00
HCMF25 London Sinfonietta: Georg Friedrich Haas
For this major London Sinfonietta commission, prolific contemporary composer Georg Friedrich Haas has written music in response to a retrospective celebrating British artist Bridget Riley, presented at Southbank Centre’s Hayward Gallery. Haas’ style, which juxtaposes different instrumental tunings, is a musical parallel to Riley’s intense visual aesthetic, which contrasts abstract blocks of colour in regular patterns – causing powerful visual sensations. Homage to Bridget Riley is a piece of music to submerge yourself in, and in this world premiere, London Sinfonietta will amalgamate the visions of two of the most extraordinary artists of our time.
23/11/2019 19:30
HCMF26 hcmf// mixtape
The hcmf// mixtape returns for another year, once again shuffling up the schematics of contemporary music! Hosted in its signature setting, Bates Mill Blending Shed, this free concert makes a playlist of its performers, bringing together a host of vital artists and giving them new roles to play. The programme for the mixtape will be revealed in due course: make sure you watch this space.
23/11/2019 22:00
HCMF27 Lisa Ullén
A mainstay of Sweden’s burgeoning experimental scene, Lisa Ullén recently released Piano Works, an exhaustive collection of music pieces that debunk the definitions of composition and improvisation. The piano is, perhaps, the most apt instrument to make this discovery on: just sitting at it dives the performer into an unknown space in which one can only make something new. There are threads of melody and strands of abstraction in Ullén’s music, reflecting her ability to play both solo and in free-playing band scenarios. Her live performance can guarantee her, at the piano – but little more than that is set in stone.
24/11/2019 12:00
HCMF28 Quatuor Bozzini + Ensemble Dedalus + Peyee Chen
Impossibly soft, Jürg Frey’s music finds the spot closest to silence and cosies up to it. Returning to hcmf// with a new work, the Swiss composer continues his humble experiments with sparsity and texture, inviting a new combination of performers to join in. For this concert, string quartet Quatuor Bozzini joins forces with Ensemble Dedalus and experimental singer Peyee Chen, all 11 artists coming to terms with the low gravity of Frey’s music.
24/11/2019 16:00
HCMF29 Evan Parker @ 75
Legendary saxophonist Evan Parker is a lot. He has you covered for pretty much every experimental innovation wrought upon the woodwind family, and has released some of the most daring free jazz records of all time. As he turns 75, there are few better ways to celebrate his career than with this: a collaborative revolution. Along with familiar creative partners and a ragtag roster of musicians, he’ll deliver a frenetic improvisation to close down hcmf// 2019.
24/11/2019 19:00