THE countdown has started to this year’s Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival which is just four months away.
As the first wave of tickets go on sale there’s already a real buzz around what the festival will have to offer this year.
And that excitement looks justified as first glimpses of the programme suggest this year’s hcmf will be packed with some of the most ambitious, galvanising and provocative music being made today.
The festival has long delivered on innovation and quality and this year’s 36th hcmf looks set to continue its internationally renowned success story.
Once again, artistic director Graham McKenzie is bringing an international line-up to Huddersfield, one which will continue to build on hcmf’s reputation as one of the most innovative and progressive new music festivals in the world.
A first look at the programme reveals a blend of leading and fast-rising composers, soloists and ensembles offering the cutting-edge sounds that we have come to expect.
There will be many world and UK premieres and the first big news to break is of the return to Huddersfield of Barcelona-born Hï¿½ctor Parra.
Now based in Paris, Hï¿½ctor was at hcmf in 2011 when his piece, Early Life, was performed by ensemble recherche, one of the most distinguished new music ensembles.
The much admired 37-year-old returns to Huddersfield in November as Composer-in-Residence.
He has been closely involved in selecting which of his works will be presented in Huddersfield.
That choice includes what has been described as his “sublime” Piano Sonata which will be played by the British pianist Nicolas Hodges.
And what better tribute to the standing of this in-demand young composer than to see his music opening the festival.
The first concert of hcmf 2013 will see his string quartets played by festival icons, the Arditti Quartet.
Two other composers will see their work featured this year and one of them, the Austrian Georg Friedrich Haas, will share that opening concert.
The fact that Norway’s Cecilie Ore is the third featured composer offers exciting prospects for some intriguing performances.
It is a mark of the strong links forged over a number of years between Norway’s contemporary music scene and that here in Huddersfield, that together they have created an opportunity to hear the work of this particular composer.
Cecilie is a strong feminist campaigner and is not one to shy away from taking a political stance as she tackles some of the big issues in the world today.
She has just completed a choir piece commissioned by BBC Radio 3 and hcmf for the BBC Singers. It is good to see these renowned singers back at the festival and in a work that quotes directly from the controversial trial in Russia of punk band Pussy Riot.
Here surely is one of the pieces that will help define this year’s festival.
But there’s another composer whose inclusion will delight hcmf supporters.
Rebecca Saunders is a British composer whose work has featured regularly and she is back this year with a new piece which will be played by the French cellist Sï¿½verine Ballon.
In the same concert, Sï¿½verine will also give the UK premiere of Hï¿½ctor Parra’s tentatives de rï¿½alitï¿½ and of Mauro Lanza’s La bataille de Caresme et de Charnage for cello and electronics.
And a final one for the diary out of this clutch of composer’s contemporary classics is the news that Hï¿½ctor’s presence has brought with it a bonus – were one needed – for the festival in the shape of BCN 216.
This is Catalonia’s premiere contemporary ensemble and it makes its debut at hcmf this autumn playing what else but large scale works by the festival’s Composer-in-Residence.
Tickets for highlight events are available with a generous online discount for early booking (www.hcmf.co.uk) .