Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (hcmf//) is an annual international festival of contemporary and new music and its aim is to bring life-changing and unique artistic experiences to as wide an audience as possible. hcmf// is the UK’s largest international festival of new and experimental music and this year will bring a packed ten day programme – including performances, installations, exhibitions, talks and workshops – featuring 25 world premieres and 70 UK premieres from leading international artists.
The relationships forged continue beyond the festival itself and result in genuinely collaborative work
Here at the British Council, we’ve been advocates of hcmf// and their ambitions for many years and, this year, have invited seven delegates from around the world to join us. Starting on Friday 17 November, these delegates with be in Huddersfield to see new work and expand their professional connections within the UK and international contemporary and classical sectors.
‘The British Council supports the creation of opportunities that can connect UK and international music organisations, professionals, artists to develop relationships with counterparts,’ says Joel Mills (Director, Music for the British Council). ‘The relationships forged often continue beyond the festival itself and result in genuinely collaborative work. Graham McKenzie and the team work year round to build international relationships and develop such collaborative projects between artists and organisations. Their work contributes to the high standing of UK contemporary and new music sector internationally, as well as sparking conversations about shared understanding and aspirations.’
This year, hcmf// runs from 17 to 26 November 2023.
What to expect at this year’s hcmf//
This year’s hcmf// opens with the UK premiere of Jennifer Walshe’s PERSONHOOD, an exploration of personal identity in a digital world of constant surveillance and technology. There’s the welcome return of hcmf// shorts with free performances throughout Monday 20 November. The festival is also celebrating Kirklees Year of Music 2023 which, led by Kirklees Council in partnership with their local musical community KYOM23, recognises the area’s rich musical heritage and promotes the growth of new music that can be heard proudly playing from the towns and villages around Huddersfield, Dewsbury and the Holme, Spen and Colne Valleys.
Visitors can expect music from composer in residence, Jennifer Walshe plus a celebration of Jürg Frey’s 70th birthday, with a day of programming dedicated to the eminent Swiss composer, performer and clarinettist. Laura Bowler’s new work ADVERT and Rebecca Saunders’ Skull (the third and final piece of a triptych beginning with Skin back in 2016) both co-commissioned by hcmf//, will receive their UK premieres.
The history of hcmf//
hcmf// was founded in 1978, starting as a modest weekend of new music organised through the University of Huddersfield’s Department of Music. The festival has since grown into a major international showcase featuring nearly 400 of the world’s finest new music ensembles and most of its leading living composers – including Boulez, Berio, Cage, Ligeti, Stockhausen, Xenakis and, more recently, Jonathan Harvey, James Dillon, Rebecca Saunders, John Zorn and Georg Friedrich Haas.
Under its current Artistic Director, Graham McKenzie, the festival has expanded to embrace not only contemporary classical music but also improvisation, electronic music, sound art and noise.
The festival is supported by Arts Council England and Kirklees Council. The University of Huddersfield is a key partner, as is BBC Radio 3 – the channel that broadcasts a wide range of programmes from Huddersfield every year.
Meet the Delegates
Here are the delegates we’ve invited to hcmf// from around the world. Catch them in Huddersfield!
Claudia Janet Birkholz
Claudia Janet Birkholz is a sought-after performer at home and abroad – particularly for piano music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries – as well as being a composer for films. She aims to create new work that seeks to artistically and musically enter new directions and take joy in experimentation, providing audiences with unusual acoustic events and special concert experiences. She is a lecturer at the Bremen University of the Arts, chairwoman of the association Realtime-Forum Neue Musik and artistic director of the Real Time Internationales.
Halida Bunga Fisandra
Halida Bunga Fisandra is a composer and a research fellow at the research centre for anthropology at the University of Indonesia. She is the co-founder of the Indonesian women composer community, called Perempuan Komponis: Forum and Lab. She started her research in the anthropology of music, concerned with Indonesian orchestras, hybrid music and decolonisation issues. Her music for an ethnographic film by Aryo Danusiri, Scenes of Encounter (2023), premiered at the Bunyi Puan Nusantara Recital. Currently, she is working with Nyak Ina Raseuki as a music assistant curator for Pekan Kebudayaan Nasional 2023 – a festival by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology, Indonesia.
Harsya Wahono is a sound practitioner from Jakarta, Indonesia, who works within diverse orientations of audio and visual forms. He is the founder and creative director of DIVISI62, a sound and visual artslabel that explores identity issues, Indonesian history and the cross-pollination of world heritage. He actively performs and produces music solo work and works within groups. Recently, he has furthered his involvement in broad cultural practices internationally with concerns of pluralism and interconnectivity as a music director and sound designer.
Thiago Cury works across sectors of music from education to the live scene and from recording to publishing. The Brazilian arts manager, musical producer and studied composer – a graduate from São Paulo University – is the founder and artistic director of Musica Estranha Festival, a unique art music festival based in São Paulo, and ÁguaForte; a record label and publishing house working in the field of classical, jazz, contemporary and world music having released important artists such as Willy Correa de Oliveira, Claudio Santoro, Ernesto Nazareth and Bixiga70. He has composed music for plays, films, documentaries and dance, having collaborated with directors like Jorge Bodansky, Philippe Barcinski, Coffin Joe, Carlos Nader and Antonio Araujo, among others. Cury has also worked as director of the Music Center of the National Foundation for the Arts - FUNARTE as well as music consultant for the Brazilian Ministry Of Culture.
Mykhailo Chedryk was born in Svalyava, Ukraine. Since September 2017, he has been programme manager of the educational and concert platform of Kyiv Contemporary Music Days. For several years he was the music programme manager at the Ukrainian Institute – a state institution that represents Ukrainian culture internationally – and from December 2022 has been a fellow composer at ensemble mosaik as part of the Weltoffenes Berlin programme.
Sirasar Boonma (Mae) is the co-founder of Hear & Found, a creative-social enterprise based in Thailand. As her core value centres on being a sound designer and a field recordist, she brings out the hidden talent of indigenous musicians by conducting multiple in-person cultural activities. She connects the technology with ethnic and folklore music to expose it worldwide via Hear & Found’s Local Stock Music and Sound Platform. This made her realise that the enterprise she founded not only preserves cultural treasures for future generations but also uplifts the locals’ well-being.
More delegate information to follow.