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5 shows to catch at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival

Thomas Moore © Kristof Lemp

The internationally renowned Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival is gearing up for its 41st edition of ground-breaking new and experimental music. Featuring 50+ concerts, installations, exhibitions and talks, we’ve rounded up a fantastic cross-section of performances so that you can sample the best of the fest!

If you’re a modern art maniac
If you’re excited by the interaction of music and visual art, then you’re in for a treat. Christian Marclay (the artist responsible for the recently celebrated The Clock exhibition at Tate Modern, London) is hcmf// 2018’s Composer in Residence! As part of his residency, there’s a wide-ranging programme of innovative events that break artistic boundaries, which you can check out here, but we’re especially excited about the world premiere of his new work Investigations, which features 20 pianists on 20 pianos (pretty impressive for an instrument that’s more usually performed solo!)

Christian Marclay © Ivan Rérat

Investigations takes place on 18 November at Huddersfield Town Hall, Corporation Street, Huddersfield, HD1 2TA
If you want to “bring on the trumpets!”
Led by Marco Blaauw, The Monochrome Project: Braxton is “bringing on the trumpets” in their performance on 17th November. Bringing two pieces from multi-instrumentalist and improviser Anthony Braxton’s Composition series to life, 103, a work for 7 trumpet players, which be performed hand-in-hand with 173, a pantomimic work combining complex instrumentation and experimental character acting.
Monochrome Project © Eva Maria Müller

The Monochrome Project: Braxton will take place on 17 November at St Paul’s Hall, Queensgate, Huddersfield, HD1 3DH
If you’re a fan of seventies synth
Do you nostalgically yearn for the synthesized days of the seventies? Then why not head to Ensemble Mosaik: Poppe on 17th November, where Rundfunk by Enno Poppe is metamorphosed into an electronic exploration of sound, interpreted by an orchestra of synthesizers. Then, on 25th November, check out POLES, a musical masterpiece originally composed by renowned experimental musician Stockhausen in 1969-70. In this innovative, ground-breaking work, Stockhausen created an “open score”, where rather than using traditional notation, the music is written using + and - symbols, offering a flexible instrumental set up. This version of the work has been realised by flautist Camilla Hoitenga and synth player Taavi Karikmäe, who will be playing on a 1970s Serge modular synthesizer once owned by composer and copyist to Stockhausen, Michael Manion.
If you’d like a bit of an introduction to Stockhausen’s radical work before you head to POLES, you could also check out Oktophonie on 23rd November, an immersive sound experience in which two of the composer’s works Oktophonie (1991) and Signale zur Invasion (1992) will be played simultaneously! Whilst this in itself will fire up your senses as you try to listen to how the two pieces interact with each other, you will also be treated to grand, moving, projected shapes designed by filmmaker Klaas Verpoest.
Enno Poppe © Harald

Ensemble Mosaik: Poppe takes place on 17 November at Bates Mill Blending Shed, Milford Street, Huddersfield, HD1 3DX
POLES takes place on the 25 November, also at Bates Mill Blending Shed
Oktophonie takes place on 23 November, also at Bates Mill Blending Shed

If you want something completely different
Head to Wikipiano on 17th November to see Australian-born pianist Zubin Kanga in this fascinating concert of works by established and emerging composers, with the piano being supplemented by a series of disruptive makeshift instruments – from magnetic resonators and cameras to body microphones. The concert’s title piece, Alexander Schubert’s WIKI-PIANO.NET is an interactive community based piece in which the complete webpage – as it exists at the precise time of the concert – will be opened and becomes the pianist’s score. So head to to get involved and then head to the concert to hear the results!

Zubin Kanga © Richard Hedger 

Wikipiano takes place on 17 November at Phipps Hall, Creative Arts Building, University of Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, HD1 3DH
If you’re strapped for cash
If you dying to see some avant-garde music, but you’re on a budget, then don’t panic! On Monday 19th November, hcmf// presents hcmf// shorts, a FREE day of performances from 11am to past midnight, at multiple venues across the town, so you can sample the best of the fest without burning a hole in your pocket.
Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival runs from 16 – 25 November and takes places at venues across Huddersfield.

This feature has been sponsored by Huddersfield Music Festival.