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.

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.