Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival

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The Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (also known by the acronym HCMF, stylised since 2006 as the lowercase hcmf//)[1] is a new music festival held annually in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, England. Since its foundation in 1978,[2] it has featured major international figures of experimental and avant garde music, including guest composers such as Karlheinz Stockhausen, Louis Andriessen, Terry Riley, Brian Eno, John Cage, Steve Reich, Jonathan Harvey, Helmut Lachenmann and Sir Harrison Birtwistle. Its programme also includes improvisation, installation, sound sculptures, happenings, new technology and free jazz.[1]

The festival is held across several venues in the town, including the Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield Town Hall, St Paul's Hall, St Thomas's Church and the Creative Arts Building of the University of Huddersfield. There is also a Festival Hub which offers refreshments, CDs and free live shows every morning of the festival.

The Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival archive is held at the University of Huddersfield Archives at Heritage Quay.[3]


The festival was founded at the suggestion of Richard Phillips, then music officer of the Yorkshire Arts Association. Richard Steinitz, a composer and lecturer at Huddersfield Polytechnic (later to become the University of Huddersfield),[4] was appointed the festival director. The first concert was held on 13 October 1978.[5]

Steinitz was succeeded as director by Susanna Eastburn in 2001[6] and guest director Tom Service in 2005. The current director is Graham McKenzie, who was appointed in 2006.[7]

In 2005, the festival was held from 17 to 27 November.

In 2006 the festival took place from 17 to 26 November. On the event list was Kitchen Motors, and Psappha.

The 2008 festival ran from 21 to 30 November. A highlight was the performance of several Frank Zappa pieces by the Ascolta ensemble with guests.

The 2009 festival ran from 20 to 29 November. Jonathan Harvey was composer in residence, and the festival also featured the Arditti Quartet, Nieuw Ensemble, Louis Andriessen and musikFabrik.

The 2010 festival ran from 19 to 28 November. The composer in residence was Rebecca Saunders.[8]

In 2011 Bent Sørensen became composer in residence.[9]

The composer in residence for 2012 was Maja Ratkje.[10]


  1. ^ a b "Interview: Graham McKenzie on 40 years of Huddersfield | Kate Molleson". Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  2. ^ Pratt, George (2001). "Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival". In Sadie, Stanley; Tyrrell, John (eds.). The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2nd ed.). London: Macmillan. ISBN 978-1-56159-239-5.
  3. ^ "Archival Collections - University of Huddersfield". Archived from the original on 8 June 2013. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  4. ^ Clements, Andrew (21 November 2017). "Huddersfield hits 40 with a broader scope but its spirit undimmed". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  5. ^ "Forty Years of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival". 7 December 2017. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  6. ^ "Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Huddersfield". The Independent. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  7. ^ Glover, Chloe (20 November 2015). "Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival artistic director Graham McKenzie celebrates 10 years in role". Huddersfield Examiner. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  8. ^ "Pulling Threads of Sound: Rebecca Saunders interviewed". Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. Archived from the original on 22 September 2010. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
  9. ^ "Reflections on Bent Sørensen". Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. Archived from the original on 13 August 2012. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  10. ^ "Maja S K Ratkje is HCMF 2012 Composer in Residence". Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. Archived from the original on 23 May 2012. Retrieved 19 June 2012.

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