Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival

Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival 2018

Johnny James, Music Editor

Now in its 41st year, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival returns with a future-leaning programme of dusk-till-dawn events. From Friday 16 November until Sunday 25 November, the West Yorkshire town will play host to approximately 50 events, held in theatres, halls, mills, brewery tap rooms and more.

In an excitingly bold move, Swiss-American visual artist and composer Christian Marclay has been named as Composer in Residence this year. You can find our top picks from his thrilling programme here. Alongside Marclay’s work, there will be a number of notable UK premieres. These include Hilda Paredes’ chamber opera Harriet, and Ensemble Musikfabrik’s performance of Yes by Rebecca Saunders.

One of the most singular figures in contemporary music, Salvatore Sciarrino will feature heavily in the final weekend of the festival. His composition Carnaval (which will also receive its UK premiere at the festival) will be performed by the power combo of EXAUDI + Explore Ensemble. And speaking of singular composers, Terry Riley’s Shri Camel will be negotiated by the always-excellent Temko, who have built new instruments in order to achieve the precise tunings and uncanny beauty of Riley’s original.

From a wide array of adventurously programmed events – including concerts, premieres, installations and unexpected creative collisions – we have made a selection of five sure-fire winners, which you can find below.

Here are our picks

  • 1. Christian Marclay at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival

    Ivan Rérat

    Christian Marclay at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival at Huddersfield Town Hall, 16–22 November 2018, from £15 - Book now

    Christian Marclay has spent the last 35 years exploring the fusion of fine art and audio cultures, transforming sounds and music into a visible, physical form through performance, collage, sculpture, installation, photography and video. From a thrilling programme of Marclay’s work, we’ve selected what we feel are the most exciting events.

  • 2. Harriet by Hilda Paredes at the Lawrence Batley Theatre

    H.B. Lindsley-Library of Congress

    Harriet at Lawrence Batley Theatre, 20 November 2018, from £15 - Book now

    Hilda Paredes’ Harriet is a chamber opera about the African-American freedom fighter and former slave Harriet Tubman. Its ambitious and powerful narrative details Tubman’s journey from captivity into activism, depicting both the suffering she endured and the spiritual experiences that spurred her onward.

  • 3. Sciarrino: Carnaval at St Paul’s Hall

    Luca Carrà

    Sciarrino: Carnaval at St Paul's Hall, Huddersfield, 24 November 2018, from £19 - Book now

    Explore Ensemble joins forces with the world renowned EXAUDI Ensemble to present the UK premiere of Salvatore Sciarrino’s grand song cycle, Carnaval. Written in 12 movements for five voices, piano and ensemble, it requires meticulous and attentive players in order to achieve the disquieting and dramatic atmosphere contained within the score.

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