hcmf//’s 40th edition opens with a co-commission from long-time Huddersfield collaborator James Dillon, written for Scotland’s foremost new music ensemble, Red Note. Paired here with the UK premiere of two recent works by young Swiss composer Stephanie Haensler and two works for solo electric guitar – written almost 40 years apart but closely related – by Morton Feldman and Christian Wolff, this world premiere of Dillon’s latest work is a continuation of his relationship with Red Note Ensemble following their critically acclaimed performance of his New York Trilogy at hcmf// 2013.
Two ensembles with radically distinct musical approaches join forces to present their interpretation of Lou Reed’s avant-garde classic Metal Machine Music. Scored for strings, horns and percussion, this hybrid crossing of two traditions offers a new way to experience Reed’s notorious recording, accompanied by a new work from French/Polish composer Kasper Toeplitz. Expect a brutal sonic assault on the senses and an unforgettable foray into controlled chaos.
Canadian pianist Eve Egoyan’s intuitive musicality and insight are a perfect match to the elegance andintricacy of composer Linda Catlin Smith’s works for solo piano. Smith’s innate connection to the resonance and character of the piano results in works of subtle complexity and artful multiplicity which shine in Egoyan’s masterful hands. At hcmf// 2017, Egoyan presents two works from her recent disc of Smith’s piano works, Thought and Desire.
Rather than simply witnessing this ritualistic performance, the audience will become a part of it. In this exciting UK premiere, the musicians are not bound to the stage, the audience not bound to a chair. In The Otheroom, everything is in motion.
Austrianvideo artist Michaela Grill, together with Canadian filmmaker Karl Lemieux andBritish turntablist Philip Jeck, present a unique and improvised audio-visualperformance in which image and sound, analogue and digital elements aresynergistically interwoven.
Appearingat hcmf// for the first time in over a decade, contemporary music powerhouseEnsemble Modern come together with the Arditti Quartet – one of the world’smost acclaimed string quartets – to showcase a programme of UK premiereperformances. Marking the festival’s 40th edition, hcmf// hasco-commissioned Brian Ferneyhough to write five new movements for his cycle Umbrations,performed here in full alongside recent works by Christopher Trapani and CarolaBauckholt.
Followingthe release of their critically acclaimed album zeitkratzer performs songsfrom 'Kraftwerk' and 'Kraftwerk 2' in 2016, the arch-experimentalistscontinue their exploration of this iconic band, this time in a live setting.Bringing a vital new perspective to Kraftwerk’s formative years, zeitkratzer'sapproach reveals a stripped back, psychedelic lightness to these early tracks,including improvisation and looping grooves. Don't miss the only UK opportunityto hear these works come to life!
Montréal-based Quatuor Bozzini return to Huddersfield toperform a programme celebrating the work of American composer Linda CatlinSmith. Joined by pianist Philip Thomas, the quartet will perform three piecesnever before presented in the UK – piano quintet, Gondola and Folkestone – in what promises to be a meticulousand sensuous exploration of Smith’s music by world class musicians.
Prized for the rich sound and vibrancy of itsquietly ecstatic performances, the Polish Radio Choir makes its hcmf// debut with a programme of premieres, including two newworks by Dai Fujikura. Co-commissioned by hcmf//, Sawasawa is a continuation of Zawazawa, Fujikura's2016 piece for the Philharmonic Chorus of Tokyo, written in collaboration withpoet Harry Ross and combining Japanese onomatopoeia with English text. Works byWojtek Blecharz and AgataZubel - two of the most exciting composers to haveemerged from the Polish music scene in recent years - complete the programme.
Swedishviolinist Karin Hellqvist continues her collaboration with composers MalinBang, Ylva Lund Bergner and Natasha Barrett, presenting brand new worksexploring the lurking fear of where our current geological age (Anthropocene)will eventually lead us; the contrasting meanings of purity and corruption; anda sonic, spatial-musical indulgence orbiting the super-massive black holeSagittarius A* in the centre of the Milky Way.
The vast, poetic,drug-induced Vedas - the writings ofearly Hindu civilisation - were, and are, kept alive by human memories andrepetition, where no earthly traces survive of the culture they sprang from. On what weft arewoven the waters is a piece about memory, ritual,sacrifice, and the constant remaking of the oldest things through the magicalsymbolism of sound. Amonumental new work from composer/performer Rolf Hind, commissioned by hcmf//for the vast spaces of Bates Mill Blending Shed.
Inthe face of a multiplicity of influences, Nik Bärtsch's music always manages topossess a strong individuality, incorporatingelements of disparate musical worlds. Full of surprising turns and boldcombinations, from funk to new classical music and elements of Japanese ritualmusic, MOBILE create a sound world of raw poetry, at times ambient and relaxed,at times dramatically charged, propelled by obsessive motion.
Appearing at hcmf// for the first time,Europe’s premiere guitar quartet Zwerm perform a three-sonic tableaux byChristopher Trapani, Joanna Bailie and Alexander Schubert in which the electricguitars create complex sounds with little movement, acting as a sort of ‘pythagoriancurtain’. The performers are stripped of most of the visual theatrics that gowith a live performance, shifting the action more towards the ear and the actof listening. The ear is the centre, vision is obscured, and immersion is thekey word.
Danish saxophonist Julie Kjaer’s edgy andthoughtful playing has become increasingly evident around Europe – inhabitingthe ground between composition and free improvisation, experimenting withextended techniques and sound, she pushes her instruments to the limits.Previous collaborations with artists as diverse as Paal Nilssen-Love, DaveDouglas, Mira Calix and ‘leafcutter’ John demonstrate the breadth of her work,and the high regard in which she is held. Here Kjaer makes her Huddersfielddebut with a newly composed concert-lengthwork, commissioned by hcmf// and Copenhagen’s newest festival, ((Go))ng Tomorrow. Performing with ahandpicked ensemble of adventurous musicians from the European experimentalmusic scene, THIS IS WHERE YOU SEE MEis a musical explorationof the process of metamorphosis and the stages of transformation.
Spanish composer and guitarist Clara deAsis has a longstanding interest in minimalist frameworks, special auscultationand temporal suspension, making her the perfect interpreter for Appalachian Anatolia (14th Century), a 40 minutesolo piece for modified guitar by Swiss composer D'incise (a.k.a Laurent Peter). A drifting musician with no particularinstrument, his influences range from dub sound systems to experimentalelectronic music, using software, recordings and objects (amongst other things)to explore sound.
Swiss-UK contemporary music company WeSpoke are joined by Swiss maestro Fritz Hauser to present a programme ofpost-percussion music. From simply acoustic to purely electric, the performersshape sound with their bare hands (and a few accessories), caressing andscratching textured objects, tuning forks, instruments and microphones in fivesculptural works.
An explosive combination, Britain’s foremostcontemporary music ensemble the London Sinfonietta joins forces with worldrenowned violinist Irvine Arditti to present the UK premiere of Hilda Parades’sacclaimed violin concerto Senales alongside some of its most iconiccommissions. From the architectural principles that guide Xenakis’ Thallein, tothe richness of Birtwistle’s Silbury Air,inspired by the mystery of the prehistoric Silbury Hill in Wiltshire, and ColinMatthews’ Contraflow, co-commissionedwith hcmf// in 1992, these landmark pieces give a sense of the musical journeythe London Sinfonietta has taken in its 50th anniversary year.
GGR Betong formed in 2014 as atribute orchestra to the late noise musician Zbigniew Karkowski who, during the1980s, lived and made everlasting marks on the streets and venues ofGothenburg. The idea was to do a one-off concert, performing a particularpiece of heavy noise music by Karkowski, and then move on. Instead, theorchestra continues to play and has gradually built a repertoire of noise works,a selection of which will be performed tonight.
Following their sensational debut at the 2016 Festival aspart of hcmf// shorts, Artistic Director Graham McKenzie immediately extendedan invitation to this young and exciting ensemble to return to Huddersfield in2017, committing to support the commissioning of a new composition specificallyfor the group. The resulting work is Patricia Alessandrini’s Tracer la lune, for sextet and live electronics, presented here alongside aUK premiere from Steven Daverson, an early virtuosic chamber work by EnnoPoppe, and Fausto Romitelli’s iconic and sculptural La sabbia del tempo.
For over twenty years Polwechsel have been operating at theinterface between improvised music and contemporary composition, characterisedby quiet volume, sustained drones and slowly developing structures, and canundoubtedly be described as one the seminal European groups working in thisarea. For this rare performance in the UK, they are reunited with saxophonistand former member John Butcher, joined by composer Klaus Lang on church organ.
Drawn from across the musical spectrum, Davies has puttogether an exceptional international line-up to perform his most ambitiouscreation to date. Transversal Time is inspired by Davies’ childhoodspent surrounded by watches and clocks all stating different times (his fatherand grandfather repaired and sold watches), and takes as its starting pointdifferent time systems, including Standard Time, Decimal Time, and Hex Time.Its lyrics draw upon the writings of Francois Jullien, in particular his book Inpraise of Blandness: Proceeding from Chinese Thought and Aesthetics,exploring the ancient Chinese notion of the richness of a bland sound; a bland meaning; a blandpainting; a bland poem.
Philadelphiaduo Archer Spade are guitarist Nick Millevoi, who explores and expands on thesound of the electric guitar through the use of non-traditional tunings,feedback and raw noise, and leading trombonist Dan Blacksberg, whose practicespans avant-garde jazz and modern classical music. Performing together in theUK for the first time, the duo will present a selection of their owngenre-crossing work and a new version of Chikako Morishita’s One Arm 1,first presented at hcmf// in 2014 and adapted here for guitar and trombone.
Returning to hcmf// following theirhit performance in 2015, The Riot Ensemble presents a programme exploringgender and identity in 2017. Laurence Osborn’s Ctrl – written on the theme of the crisis of masculinity and thepersistence of outdated and oppressive notions of manliness, as highlighted inthe writing of Grayson Perry – is placed alongside searing and searching worksby Katherine Young, Nikolet Burzynska and Stephanie Haensler.
Performedhere alongside UK premieres from Bernhard Lang and Jorge Sanchez-Chiong, hcmf//commission Fight (Not Flight) will bring together Laura Bowler’s focusareas as a composer, academic and performer into one work for the first time.Another hcmf// debut – for both Bowler and Austrian ensemble PHACE – the pieceexplores the fight or flight mechanism, drawing parallels between theprimal, animalistic mechanism of fight or flight and contemporarysociety’s engagement with politics through the passive online ether (flight)and the recent resurgence in protest marches and political activism (fight).
Critically acclaimedcomposer/performer Laura Cannell’s hcmf// commission FEATHERS UNFURLEDis a narrative about physical and emotional boundaries and liminallandscapes. Deconstructing her compositions and using them as graphic scoresfor semi-improvised pieces which seek to dissolve borders, Cannell eschewsformal structure to re-imagine a sonic landscape unrestricted by timeor origin.
hcmf// presents the only UK performance of the late PaulineOliveros' elemental Primordial/Lift, featuring the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) and Manchester-basedensemble Distractfold. Joining these two tireless advocates of contemporarymusic creation in a one-off celebration of her work will be Oliveros’ long-timecollaborators Fritz Hauser, IONE and Anne Bourne.
Inwhat has in recent years become a tradition during the Festival’s closingweekend, hcmf// presents an eclectic mix of work across multiple stages, broadcastlive on BBC Radio 3’s flagship new music programme Hear and Now. This year, The Riot Ensemble perform works by thelate iconic American artist Pauline Oliveros, including the rarely heard The Wheel of Time, for string quartetand tape. Austrian group Nikel present the first performance of a new work byEnno Poppe, while Arizona-based Scottish electronic music composer andperformer Lauren Sarah Hayes presents the world premiere of her latest work,commissioned by hcmf//. Philadelphia duo Archer Spade complete the line-up.
EnsembleGrizzana return to hcmf// with an expanded line-up and a programme of worldpremieres, both loosely based on two pieces of early music: Ockeghem’s Déplorationsur la mort de Binchois and Byrd’s Oh Lord How Vain. From thiscommon starting point, composers Jürg Frey and Magnus Granberg workedseparately, producing fascinatingly different results, both haunted by distantechoes of the source material.
hcmf//welcomes experimental folk artist, singer, and multi-instrumentalist Sam Amidon to Huddersfield for the first time with a highly unpredictable programme of hisown works. Following the release of his latest album, The Following Mountain, this performance represents a new approach for Amidon, who shifts here from his previous norm of re-working traditional folk songs to present nine wholly original compositions. A cast of improvising musicians will support, reflect and challenge Amidon’s music, weaving together to create a night of one-of-a-kind music.
Austrianensemble Nikel bring hcmf// 2017 to a close with a bang! Inspired by Berlin raveand techno culture, their collaboration with composer Alexander Schubert andGerman indie singer, Mohna, allows the quartet to reach out into new terrainsnot always accessible under the constraints of the traditionalcomposer-performer relationship. Perfectly staged in the vast Bates MillBlending Shed, Nikel invite you to let go, be euphoric and party.