Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival 2019

Part of our Music guide

Carmel Smickersgill, Tours & Activities Editor
Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival

Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, 15–24 November 2019, tickets from £12 - Book now

With its rich musical heritage and a line-up of 17 different music festivals and 5 classical music seasons, it’s no surprise that Huddersfield is home to the long-established Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (hcmf//). For 10 days every November, the town plays host to an international community of music creators, performers and audiences, exploring the boundaries of contemporary and experimental music. hcmf// is renowned for its thoughtful, provocative programming – and this year is no exception.

hcmf// has been inspiring audiences for over 40 years and 2019 looks set to be another winner.

Centred around the music of Swedish composer Hanna Hartman, the 2019 programme promises melting cellos, premieres from Georg Friedrich Haas, Jürg Frey and Naomi Pinnock to name a few, as well as a performance from Nadia Ratsimandresy on the ondes Martenot – one of the oldest electronic musical instruments in existence.

Composer in Residence Hanna Hartman’s work is centred around finding beauty in sound from everyday objects. Her electronic work combines sounds from all walks of life, effortlessly blending them to produce rich textural worlds, which can take you into intimate and familiar places as well as more expansive and open terrains. This attention to subtle detail in the sounds of everyday objects can be seen throughout the programme with artists such as Kelly Jayne Jones performing with rocks and We Spoke making noise with cardboard. Hartman’s work will be performed throughout the festival and the composer will also take part in a talk, discussing her music. And be sure to catch Secret Security on the 18th of November, a concert in which she’ll perform her own 2018 work for office supplies and electronics.

hcmf// isn’t just a collection of performances. During the festival, an exhibition of Claudia Molitor’s work will be open in the Market Gallery – part of Queensgate Market’s Temporary Contemporary venue. With a focus on how racism, misogyny and anti-environmentalism are becoming increasingly normalised in the west, expect striking video work and engulfing sound art that’ll make you assess your own values.

One of the festival highlights is the premiere of a new work by Swiss composer Jürg Frey. In this concert by Quatuor Bozzini, Ensemble Dedalus and experimental vocalist Peyee Chen, the 11 performers will be getting familiar with Frey’s delicate and intricate world, where small detailed sounds are prioritised and celebrated.

Another must-see concert comes from The Hermes Experiment. This young ensemble breaks down the instrumental expectations of quartet playing and rebuild them in a deliciously satisfying way. Their programme of Meredith Monk, alongside pieces they’ve commissioned, brings out the best in their quirky combination of harp, bass, clarinet and voice. As well as being excellent musicians the collective physicality of the group makes for energetic and idiomatic performances.

This ensemble breaks down the instrumental expectations of quartet playing and rebuild them in a deliciously satisfying way.

Be sure to check out the workshops and talks hosted by hcmf//. Some of the free events include singing workshops with Peyee Chen, a performance made up of school children’s ringtones using WhatsApp, and performances of Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit. Many of the composers involved in the festival also take part in talks and panel discussions. It’s a brilliant way to hear about the music first hand and really understand the thinking behind these striking pieces.

What can be guaranteed from any of the  60+ events that make up the festival is innovative thinking and something new. Whether you’re attending a concert, musical theatre piece, multimedia exhibition or talk, hcmf// has been inspiring audiences for over 40 years, and 2019 looks set to be another winner.

Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival takes place in venues across Huddersfield, including concert halls, bars, churches and an industrial mill.

Tickets for individual events are priced from £12 – £25 (with Early Bird prices from £9 – £19 on bookings until 4 October). Festival Saver / Weekend Saver tickets are also available. £4 tickets for all events are available for 17 – 29 year olds, offering a saving of up to £21 (tickets are limited, and must be booked in advance).

15–24 November 2019
Tickets from £12

Things to do at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival 2019

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Festivals 15 November 2019, 4:00 pm, FREE

Exhibition: Claudia Molitor at HCMF

Festivals 15 November 2019, 5:00 pm, FREE

edges ensemble at HCMF

Festivals 15 November 2019, 6:15 pm, FREE

Pre-Concert Talk: Naomi Pinnock and Ann at HCMF

Festivals 15 November 2019, 7:00 pm, FREE

Sonar Quartett + Juliet Fraser at HCMF

Festivals 15 November 2019, 9:30 pm, FREE

The Riot Ensemble: Ann Cleare Portrait at HCMF

Festivals 15 November 2019, 11:15 pm, FREE

Hanna Hartman: Solo Works at HCMF

Festivals 16 November 2019, 11:00 am, FREE

Meet the Composer: Hanna Hartman at HCMF

Festivals 16 November 2019, 1:00 pm, FREE

Ellen Arkbro at HCMF

Festivals 16 November 2019, 4:00 pm, FREE

Iced Bodies at HCMF

Festivals 16 November 2019, 7:00 pm, FREE

The Riot Ensemble at HCMF

Festivals 16 November 2019, 9:45 pm, FREE

Decay / Sofia Jernberg at HCMF

Festivals 17 November 2019, 11:00 am, FREE

Meet the Composer: Heiner Goebbels at HCMF

Festivals 17 November 2019, 1:00 pm, FREE

Norrbotten NEO at HCMF

Festivals 17 November 2019, 5:00 pm, FREE

Hanna Hartman: Hurricane Season at HCMF

Festivals 17 November 2019, 7:00 pm, FREE

Jenny Hval: The Practice of Love at HCMF

Festivals 17 November 2019, 9:00 pm, FREE

Heiner Goebbels + Gianni Gebbia at HCMF

Festivals 17 November 2019, 11:00 pm, FREE

Isidore Isou: Juvenal Symphony No 4 at HCMF

Festivals 18 November 2019, 11:00 am, FREE

Georgia Rodgers at HCMF

Festivals 18 November 2019, 11:30 am, FREE

Group Chat at HCMF

Festivals 18 November 2019, 12:00 pm, FREE

John Butcher at HCMF

Festivals 18 November 2019, 12:30 pm, FREE

The Hermes Experiment at HCMF

Festivals 18 November 2019, 1:20 pm, FREE

Heloise Tunstall-Behrens / Lia Su at HCMF

Festivals 18 November 2019, 2:30 pm, FREE

Silvia Rosani at HCMF

Festivals 18 November 2019, 3:30 pm, FREE

GBSR Duo at HCMF

Festivals 18 November 2019, 4:15 pm, FREE

Lisa Robertson at HCMF

Festivals 18 November 2019, 4:40 pm, FREE

Morton Feldman’s Music for Dance and Film at HCMF

Festivals 18 November 2019, 5:30 pm, FREE

Sophie Cooper / Nicole Raymond at HCMF

Festivals 18 November 2019, 6:20 pm, FREE

Mariam Rezaei at HCMF

Festivals 18 November 2019, 7:10 pm, FREE

The Free Musketeers at HCMF

Festivals 18 November 2019, 8:20 pm, FREE

Super Luminum at HCMF

Festivals 18 November 2019, 9:30 pm, FREE

Hanna Hartman: Secret Security at HCMF

Festivals 18 November 2019, 10:15 pm, FREE

Thomas Ankersmit at HCMF

Festivals 18 November 2019, 11:00 pm, FREE

Craig Scott at HCMF

Festivals 19 November 2019, 12:00 pm, FREE

CeReNeM Talk: Cat Hope at HCMF

Festivals 19 November 2019, 2:00 pm, FREE

Wet Ink 1 at HCMF

Festivals 19 November 2019, 4:00 pm, FREE

Talk: Artist Collectives at HCMF

Festivals 19 November 2019, 7:00 pm, FREE

TEMKO + Slagwerk den Haag at HCMF

Festivals 19 November 2019, 9:00 pm, FREE

Nadah El Shazly at HCMF

Festivals 19 November 2019, 10:30 pm, FREE

Hanna Hartman: Electroacoustic Works at HCMF

Festivals 20 November 2019, 12:00 pm, FREE

Wet Ink 2 at HCMF

Festivals 20 November 2019, 7:00 pm, FREE

S4 at HCMF

Festivals 20 November 2019, 9:00 pm, FREE

Skogen at HCMF

Festivals 20 November 2019, 11:00 pm, FREE

Nadia Ratsimandresy at HCMF

Festivals 21 November 2019, 12:00 pm, FREE

James Oesi / Maya Fridman at HCMF

Festivals 21 November 2019, 2:00 pm, FREE

Pre-concert talk: Irmin Schmidt at HCMF

Families 21 November 2019, 4:00 pm, FREE

We Spoke at HCMF

Festivals 21 November 2019, 7:00 pm, FREE

Irmin Schmidt at HCMF

Festivals 21 November 2019, 9:00 pm, FREE

Reactive Flows at HCMF

Festivals 21 November 2019, 10:30 pm, FREE

Kelly Jayne Jones at HCMF

Festivals 22 November 2019, 12:00 pm, FREE

Grand Chromatic Fantasy (Symphony for 3 Pianos) at HCMF

Festivals 22 November 2019, 7:00 pm, FREE

Ensemble Contrechamps at HCMF

Festivals 22 November 2019, 9:00 pm, FREE

Null (Parts 5-7) at HCMF

Festivals 23 November 2019, 5:00 pm, FREE

The Fish that became the Sun at HCMF

Festivals 23 November 2019, 7:15 pm, FREE

Pre-Concert Talk: Georg Freidrich Haas at HCMF

Festivals 23 November 2019, 7:30 pm, FREE

London Sinfonietta: Georg Friedrich Haas at HCMF

Festivals 23 November 2019, 10:00 pm, FREE

hcmf// mixtape at HCMF

Festivals 24 November 2019, 12:00 pm, FREE

Lisa Ullén at HCMF

Festivals 24 November 2019, 2:00 pm, FREE

David Toop: Living Within Sound at HCMF

Festivals 24 November 2019, 4:00 pm, FREE

Quatuor Bozzini + Ensemble Dedalus + Peyee Chen at HCMF

Festivals 24 November 2019, 6:00 pm, FREE

Pre-Concert Talk: Evan Parker at HCMF

Festivals 24 November 2019, 7:00 pm, FREE

Evan Parker @ 75 at HCMF

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