hcmf// 2016 – highlights announced

New works by the Austrian composer Georg Friedrich Haas, hcmf// 2016’s Composer in Residence, together with two concerts for highly unusual forces – West Coast maverick Harry Partch‘s menagerie of magical custom-made instruments and Swiss composer Alfred Zimmerlin‘s Stone Orchestra – are among the highlight events of the 39th Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.

The festival runs from Friday 18 November – Sunday 27 November 2016.

Highlights also include bespoke concerts by leading international ensembles: Ensemble Musikfabrik from Cologne, Austrian supergroup Klangforum Wien, Hamburg-based Ensemble Resonanz and festival regulars the Arditti and Diotima Quartets – the latter celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2016.

Featured soloists include free jazz saxophonist Peter Brötzmann, appearing as a guest with Ensemble Musikfabrik in one of its brace of concerts, New York avant-garde jazz guitarist and composer Elliott Sharp and clarinettist Gareth Davis – both guesting with Ensemble Resonanz – and Huddersfield’s very own pianist Richard Uttley in a wide-ranging solo recital, including a brand new work for the Fender Rhodes piano.

Eva Reiter

All nine concerts bristle with premieres: from the latest works from Georg Friedrich Haas – hcmf// co-commission The Hyena, a provocative new work for ensemble (Klangforum Wien) and narrator (the composer’s wife, Mollena Williams-Haas), and his String Quartet No 10, commissioned by hcmf// and given its first performance in Huddersfield by the Arditti Quartet.

The Festival’s opening concert, also by the Ardittis, has UK premieres by the daringly original Irish composer Jennifer Walshe – another hcmf// co-commission – and the latest quartet by featured composer Alfred Zimmerlin.

There are two new works by Berlin-based UK composer Rebecca Saunders, including a substantial work for soprano Juliet Fraser and ensemble (Klangforum Wien). All this plus new works from, amongst others, Liza Lim, Enno Poppe, John Zorn, George Lewis and Sam Hayden.

Surely the most visually arresting work of hcmf//‘s first weekend will be the World Premiere of Claudia Molitor‘s hour-long Walking with Partch performed by Ensemble Musikfabrik. In 2012, Musikfabrik set out to re-build the visionary American composer Harry Partch’s unique micro-tonal instruments; and for their continuing ‘pitch 43_tuning the cosmos’ project have commissioned new works by European composers for these impressive instruments in order to give them a life beyond historic reconstruction.

Highlight concerts alternate between St Paul’s Hall, the former Victorian church with its warm acoustic and embracing atmosphere, and the gritty post-industrial chic of former textile factory, Bates Mill.

Further programme details of hcmf// 2016 will be announced in early September.

hcmf// 2016 highlights diary

Arditti Quartet + Jennifer Walshe

St Paul’s Hall, Huddersfield

Jennifer Walshe Everything is Important UK premiere (hcmf// co-commission)
Alfred Zimmerlin String Quartet No 4 UK premiere


Ensemble Musikfabrik + Peter Brötzmann

The Blending Shed, Bates Mill, Huddersfield:

George Lewis new work for solo trombone UK premiere
Marcin Stánczyk new work for ensemble UK premiere
Georg Friedrich Haas I can’t Breathe UK premiere
Michael Wertmueller Antagonisme Contrôlé (soloist Peter Brötzmann) UK premiere
Michale Beil new work UK premiere
Tobias Schwencke Yeah Yeah Yeah UK premiere
Enno Poppe Haare UK premiere

Ensemble Musikfabrik: Harry Partch instruments

The Blending Shed, Bates Mill, Huddersfield

Claudia Molitor Walking with Partch world premiere
Rebecca Saunders Bite world premiere
Liza Lim The Green Lion eats the sun UK premiere
Enno Poppe Fell UK premiere
John Zorn new work UK Premiere

Klangforum Wien + Arditti Quartet

St Paul’s Hall, Huddersfield

Georg Friedrich Haas The Hyena (soloist: Mollena Williams-Haas) UK premiere (hcmf// co-commission)
Georg Friedrich Haas String Quartet No 10 world premiere (hcmf// commission)

Klangforum Wien

St Paul’s Hall, Huddersfield

Rebecca Saunders new work (soloist: Juliet Fraser) UK premiere (hcmf// co-commission)
Eva Reiter new work UK premiere
Reinhard Fuchs Mania UK premiere
Beat Furrer Klarinettenquintett

Stone Orchestra
Bates Mill, Huddersfield


Created in 2014, the Stone Orchestra developed out of the activities of the Steinklang Music Foundation, whose goal is to bring innovative instrument makers, composer and musicians together to develop new stone sounds and place them in new contexts. This 11-piece group will make their Huddersfield debut with their custom-made stone instruments and a programme featuring the work of Alfred Zimmerlin.

Ensemble Resonanz + Gareth Davis + Elliott Sharp

St Paul’s Hall, Huddersfield

Elliott Sharp Oceanus Procellarium UK premiere
Alexander Schubert Scanners UK premiere

Richard Uttley

St Paul’s Hall, Huddersfield

Michael Cutting new work for Fender Rhodes piano world premiere (hcmf// commission)
Eric Wubbels Psychomechanochronometer UK premiere
Georg Friedrich Haas Ein Schattenspiel
Olga Neuwirth Incidendo/fluido

Quatuor Diotima

St Paul’s Hall, Huddersfield

Enno Poppe Buch UK premiere (hcmf// co-commission)
Sam Hayden Transience world premiere

Enno Poppe
Elliott Sharp
Richard Uttley