20-29 November 2015
Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival
Britain’s leading new music celebration, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (hcmf//), this year profiles the vibrant Polish contemporary music scene – from vocal pyrotechnics, uncompromising minimalism to psychedelic folk and extreme noise – introducing new and established composers and performers to British audiences throughout the ten-day festival.
hcmf//’s Polish focus is generously supported by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute as part of the Polska Music programme and the Polish Cultural Institute London, and marks the beginning of on ongoing relationship between the organisations.
This year's Festival – the 38th edition – runs from Friday, November 20 – Sunday, November 29, 2015.
hcmf// is Britain's leading contemporary music
festival. Regarded as a weather-vane for the state of contemporary music in all its forms – embracing contemporary classical, jazz, improvisation, sound art and noise – the Festival is a 'must' for audiences, composers, ensembles and commentators from all over the world.
The Festival’s opening night (Friday, November 20) introduces two of Poland’s most distinctive young creators Agata Zubel and Jagoda Szmytka.
Agata Zubel is a composer-vocalist of multiple and formidable gifts. At hcmf//’s opening concert she appears with Austrian supergroup Klangforum Wien as soloist in her own visceral setting of Beckett’s Not I, veering between guttural spluttering and otherworldly song, her voice multiplying into an electronic mob.
Young British group, The Riot Ensemble, continue hcmf//’s opening night celebrations at Huddersfield's hippest venue, Bates Mill, with a multimedia portrait concert of Jagoda Szmytka whose works – frequently referencing the virtual landscapes of social media – weave sounds, images and texts into multi-layered constellations. Szmytka’s work is also included in Frankfurt-based Ensemble Interface’s concert later in the Festival (Monday, November 23).
Tomasz Sikorski (1939-1988) and Zbigniew Karkowski (1968-2013) exemplify radically different approaches to music making. While Sikorski was a philosopher-minimalist concerned with the meditative properties of his compositions, Karkowski was a pioneering noise musician who allegedly cracked toilets and blew out speakers in his quest to unlock a higher frequency. Both are profiled at this year’s hcmf//: Veteran British pianist John Tilbury and contemporary music collective Noszferatu XL give an all-Sikorski concert as part of free-wheeling late-nighter at Bates Mill (Saturday, November 21), to be broadcast live by BBC Radio 3. Karkowski’s music is performed by Franco-Polish composer/performer Kasper T Toeplitz (Saturday, November 21); in a percussion & bass concert by Daniel Buess and Aleksander Gabrys, exploring the composer’s debt to Xenakis (Tuesday, November 24), and by his friend and collaborator Anton Lukoszevieze with his ensemble Apartment House, who perform Karkowski’s elemental Field (2006) for amplified string quartet and live-electronics, in a new version devised in 2012 by Karkowski in collaboration with Lukoszevieze (Friday, November 27).
Polish sound artist, composer and improviser Robert Piotrowicz teams up with Ensemble Phoenix (CH) for an unmissable programme including two of Piotrowicz’s own works (Sunday, November 22). Piotrowicz’s output features saturated, complex structures created with computers and analogue synthesisers, leading to works of powerful dynamics grasped within dramatic forms.
Delicate and sinister, cult psychedelic folk music group Księżyc (Monday, November 23) offers something completely different; the spirit of Księżyc captures medieval music with a sound rooted in the Slavic tradition, inspired by vocal techniques of folk singers from Ukraine, Lithuania and Bulgaria, combined with elements of minimalism and vocal experiments of the 20th century. Their concert at hcmf// 2015 will be the first presentation of a new repertoire in the UK.
Finally, Polish synthesiser constructor and experimental musician Mirt and Norwegian voice virtuoso Maja S K Ratkje come together (Saturday, November 28) to reinterpret compositions by Arne Nordheim and Eugeniusz Rudnik.
Their concert forms part of the Eastern Waves project organised by Foundation 4.99, dedicated to the long history of collaboration between Polish and Norwegian electronic music composers, mainly in the Polish Radio Experimental Studio.
Other much-anticipated highlights of this year's hcmf// include UK Premieres of new works by American composers La Monte Young, George Lewis and John Zorn, as well as performances by the London Sinfonietta, the Berlin Splitter Orchester and the Arditti Quartet.
Fri November 20 6pm St Paul’s Hall, Huddersfield
Klangforum Wien (Austria)
Clement Power (conductor) Agata Zubel (soprano)
Agata Zubel Not I (2010) - UK Premiere
Fri November 20 9.30pm Bates Mill Blending Shed, Huddersfield
The Riot Ensemble (UK)
Aaron Holloway-Nahum (conductor)
Jagoda Szmytka (1982, Poland) GAMEBOY (2015) - UK Premiere
Jagoda Szmytka (1982, Poland) sky-me, type- me (2011) - UK Premiere
Jagoda Szmytka (1982, Poland) empty music (2014) - UK Premiere
Sat November 21 10pm Bates Mill Blending Shed, Huddersfield
Bailey / Sikorski / Frey
John Tilbury + Noszferatu XL (UK)
Tomasz Sikorski (1939 - 1988, Poland) Autograph (1980)
Tomasz Sikorski (1939 - 1988, Poland) Zerstreutes Hinausschauen (1971)
Tomasz Sikorski (1939 - 1988, Poland) Echoes 1-4
Sun November 22 4pm Bates Mill Blending Shed, Huddersfield
Ensemble Phoenix + Robert Piotrowicz (electronics) (CH/Poland)
Robert Piotrowicz (1973, Poland) Grund - UK Premiere
Robert Piotrowicz (1973, Poland) Apendic - UK Premiere
Mon November 23 7pm St Paul’s Hall, Huddersfield
Ensemble Interface (DE)
Jagoda Szmytka Pores open wide shut – UK Premiere
Mon November 23 8.45pm St Thomas’ Church, Huddersfield
Psychedelic folk – first UK presentation of new repertoire
To read about the UK tour of Księżyc after the festival click here.
To read about the new album released by Penultimate Press click here.
Mon November 23 10.50pm Bates Mill Photographic Studio, Huddersfield
Kasper T Toeplitz (bass guitar / electronics) (FR)
Zbigniew Karkowski (1958 – 2013, Poland) Fluster (2010) - UK Premiere
Tues November 24 4pm Bates Mill Blending Shed, Huddersfield
Karkowski / Xenakis
Daniel Buess (percussion), Aleksander Gabrys (double bass)
Zbigniew Karkowski (1958 - 2013, Poland) Form & Disposition (2008)
Zbigniew Karkowski (1958 - 2013, Poland) Studio Varèse (2013) - UK Premiere
Fri November 17 11pm Bates Mill Blending Shed, Huddersfield
Apartment House (UK)
Zbigniew Karkowski (1958 - 2013) Field amplified string quartet and live- electronics
- UK Premiere
Sat November 28 4pm Phipps Hall, University of Huddersfield
Eastern Waves (Poland/Norway)
Mirt (synthesizer), Maja S K Ratkje (voice / electronics)
Mirt Solitaire) - UK Premiere
Maja S K Ratkje In Dialogue with Eugeniusz Rudnik - UK Premiere
To read more about hcmf// 2015 go to hcmf.co.uk
Online Booking: hcmf.co.uk; Telephone booking: +44 (0) 1484 430528