Graham McKenzie

hcmf// 2017 : How to do the festival for free…

In recent years one of the most keenly anticipated days of any Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival is the hcmf// shorts programme or ‘Free Monday’ as it is more commonly affectionately referred to. A day long ‘festival within a festival’ which offers a full day of concert offerings – short and to the point – covering the full spectrum of new and experimental music and featuring emerging talent alongside some of the renowned giants of modern music – and all absolutely free!

At hcmf// headquarters we want everyone to have the opportunity to experience the sounds that we feel passionate about, and have tirelessly worked all year to bring to Huddersfield – and where possible we want this music to be accessible to all. With that in mind we have peppered the 10 days with more free events than ever before. So join us and drop in.

Here’s hcmf// Artistic Director Graham Mckenzie’s guide to ‘how to do the festival for free’ and his top free events in no particular order.

PRES @60

hcmf// at 40 celebrates the Polish Radio Experimental Studio at 60! Drop in to Huddersfield Art Gallery throughout the festival and experience the sights and sounds of one of the most heralded sound studio’s in European history, influential not only in art music, but in architecture, visual art, and film throughout Eastern Europe.

17-26 November @  Huddersfield Art Gallery

More info…


Former hcmf// composer in residence Maja S K Ratkje returns to the festival with the world premiere of her latest creation, a collaboration with artist and inventor Kathy Hinde. Part installation – part concert, the sounds of the air-activated Aeolian instruments blend with the acoustic instruments of soloist Andreas Borregard and the inimitable Red Note Ensemble.

11.30pm, 17 November @  Bates Mill Photographic Studio

More info…

hcmf// shorts

A full day of not to be missed gems – let me just pick out a few particular highlights. Belgian guitarist Kobe Van Cauwenberghe performs a unique solo arrangement of Fripp/Eno’s seminal No (more) Pussyfooting in the intimate surroundings of Bates Mill Photographic Studio, to provide the perfect blissed out experience in the middle of a busy day – while from deepest Russia, Phurpa bring their shamanic vocal traditions of ‘Bon’ to the U.K. for the first time.

20 November @  various venues

More info…

Tim Rutherford-Johnson

One of the books I couldn’t put down this year (honestly) was author Tim Rutherford-Johnson’s survey of contemporary Western art music Music After The Fall. A broad and rich picture of of the new music eco-system from North American string quartets, to Lebanese improvisers, from electroacoustic studio’s in Mexico, to ruined piano’s in the Australian outback. Rutherford-Johnson brings it all to life in conversation at hcmf//.

3pm, 24 November @  Creative Arts Building, University of Huddersfield

More info…
hcmf// 40th edition

Thomas Lehn plays Boguslaw Schaeffer

This landmark of Polish experimental music Symphony was never meant to be performed live. Gigantic in scale and ambivalent in nature – German synthesiser virtuoso Thomas Lehn over fifty years on from its creation, has prepared a solo concert version!

9.30pm, 23 November @ Bates Mill Photographic Studio

More info…

hcmf//’s Learning & Participation Programme

Heavy metal, blurred lines, pop-up art, and re-create history with Lego! Take part, play and create! A plethora of workshops and participatory experiences can be yours to enjoy. Booking may be required for some events.

17-26 November @  various venues

More info…

hcmf// mix-tape

Come along and be part of a live broadcast featuring improvisation from Philadelphia in the form of Archer Spade, electronica from Lauren Sarah Hayes, UK premiere’s from Enno Poppe, and Ann Cleare, and a rare performance of a work from iconic American artist Pauline Oliveros which involved a worldwide search for a long lost tape. Sure, you can listen from home, but just think how much more fun you will have actually being there!

10pm, 25 November @  Bates Mill Blending Shed

Please note: Whilst this is a free event you will need to book a ticket to attend.

More info…