HCMF: Artistic director Graham McKenzie on Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival
Nov 19 2010 by Val Javin, Huddersfield Daily Examiner
IT HAS already been quite a year for Graham McKenzie, artistic director of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.
Earlier this year, the festival beat off some big opposition to pick up one of the country’s top music awards.
Now in his fifth year artistic director, Graham is looking very much to the future, to continue presenting the best that the world of contemporary music has to offer and to building on a relationship with the town that grows stronger by the year.
“I think there is much more of a feeling of the festival now being connected back to the town,” he said.
“I think we have managed to bridge that sense that we are a very international festival and have managed to connect in a meaningful way with the people in the area.”
“I think that has partly been due to the fact that we have been able to have in the last there years a full-time Learning and Participation worker, Heidi Johnson who has managed that.
“We have been able to work more strategically on these learning opportunities. We want to create lots of opportunities for people who have an interest in music to get involved.
“The piano project last year brought in a lot of people, brought them back to thinking about their own participation in the arts.
“I think that has been successful for us. A lot of people coming to those events are coming back to other things that we are putting on.”
And that attitude continues with an entire day of free music. That’s on Monday at a variety of venues across the town.
“It is an opportunity for people to drop in from morning until late at night.”
It is, I suggest, a great way to encourage people to try events they might not otherwise have got involved in, a good way to break down barriers and perceptions about what contemporary music is all about.
“I think any form of artistic event can to some extent be a daunting experience if it is not something that you have been to before,” said Graham.
As for Graham’s own attitude to music: “I’m a music enthusiast. I like it from noise at one end of the spectrum to orchestral music at the other end.
“I’m trying to encourage lots of other people to have that view!”