i’ve just returned from a few days in Poland, and before i get started on catch-up reviews of Cheltenham and the Proms, at a press conference in Warsaw a couple of days ago a slew of new announcements were made about this year’s 40th edition of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. Last month, it was announced that there’s to be the world première of a large-scale new piece by James Dillon performed by his compatriots Red Note Ensemble, as well as the first UK performance of Brian Ferneyhough‘s even more large-scale work for string quartet and ensemble Umbrations, by Ensemble Modern and the Arditti Quartet (my review of the world première is here). There are also going to be concerts focusing on Linda Catlin Smith, featured in the first part of Another Timbre’s recent Canadian Composer Series, and the late Pauline Oliveros; each composer’s music is explored in two concerts, Smith’s by pianist Eve Egoyan and Philip Thomas with the Bozzini Quartet, Oliveros’ by Riot Ensemble and the combined forces of ICE Ensemble, Distractfold and the wonder that is Fritz Hauser.
Newly-announced on Monday are events pertaining to the ongoing collaboration HCMF has had with Polish music since 2015, now entering its third and final year. This October marks the 60th anniversary of the Polish Radio Experimental Studio, the work of which is going to be celebrated in an audio-visual exhibition at Huddersfield Art Gallery running for the duration of the festival, in addition to a series of accompanying talks and performances. Music by one of the Studio’s key figures, Bohdan Mazurek, will be presented in a pair of late-night concerts in Bates Mill Photographic Studio, given by Jacek Sienkiewicz and Valerio Tricoli respectively. Also in the Photographic Studio will be a laptop and tape concert by German musician Thomas Lehn, performing music by Bogusław Schaeffer. Beyond this, there’s another extremely rare opportunity for UK audiences to hear Zbigniew Karkowski‘s music: his 40-minute work Encumbrance, for voices and electronics, will be performed by Gęba vocal ensemble, in addition to music by Kryzysztof Knittel and Antoni Beksiak. Dai Fujikura has written a new piece for the Polish Radio Choir, the second of a two-part work, which will be receiving its first performance in this complete version, alongside works by Polish composers Wojtek Blecharz (about whose Body-opera i shall soon be writing) and Agata Zubel, and Riot Ensemble will also be performing a new work by Nikolet Burzynska.
So, here’s how the festival looks so far (some times/locations still to be confirmed); more info coming soon.
- James Dillon: new work (World Première) / Red Note Ensemble (St Paul’s Hall)
- Brian Ferneyhough: Umbrations (UK Première) / Ensemble Modern & Arditti Quartet (St Paul’s Hall)
- Focus on Linda Catlin Smith / Eve Egoyan
- 23:30 Jacek Sienkiewitcz (electronics) plays Bohdan Mazurek (World Première) (Bates Mill Photographic Studio)
- Focus on Linda Catlin Smith / Philip Thomas & Bozzini Quartet
- 15:00 Dai Fujikura – two-part work (Part 1 – UK Première, Part 2 – World Première), works by Wojtek Blecharz & Agata Zubel / Polish Radio Choir (Huddersfield Town Hall)
- 17:00 Zbigniew Karkowski – Encumbrance (UK Première), works by Kryzysztof Knittel and Antoni Beksiak / Gęba Vocal Ensemble (St Paul’s Hall)
- 21:30 Thomas Lehn (laptop & tape) plays Bogusław Schaeffer (Bates Mill Photographic Studio)
- 17:00 programme includes Nikolet Burzynska – new work (World Première) / The Riot Ensemble (St Paul’s Hall)
- 23:30 Valerio Tricoli (electronics) plays Bohdan Mazurek (World Premiere) (Bates Mill Photographic Studio)
- Focus on Pauline Oliveros / ICE Ensemble, Distractfold & Fritz Hauser
- Focus on Pauline Oliveros / The Riot Ensemble