Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival Archive

Scope and Content

The archive of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival from its founding in 1978 mainly up to 2005. The series of festival programme books, (HCMF/EV), is up to date.

The archive is a major resource for international contemporary music composition and performance.

The festival is currently (2017) branded as hcmf//. It is referred to in this catalogue as the festival.

The main series of records are:

governance - minutes of the Board of mangement, Annual General Meeting papers and Annual reports and accounts (HCMF/CP/1)

administration - business plans, reporting and correspondence (HCMF/CP/1/2)

presenting the festival - materials to support selecting and managing the programme including contract files for performers, schedule planning paperwork and details of venues (HCMF/CP/2)

Festival programmes - a complete set giving a full picture of performances at each festival (HCMF/EV)

financial records - budget analysis across years, complete accounting records for 2003-2004, fundraising activities including grants, advertising and sponsorship (HCMF/FN)

publicity - press releases, reviews and awards received (HCMF/MD)

marketing - marketing reviews, audience research, ticket sales analysis, posters, branding, a banner and audio-visual promotional material (HCMF/MK)

audio-visual recordings - submitted by artists as part of performance proposals, in CD, cassette, DVD, video and vinyl formats. (HCMF/RE)

scores - submitted by artists as part of performance proposals. In hard-copy format (HCMF/SC)

educational activity - details of work done with children and young people during festivals and records of the Young Composers' award for emerging artists. (HCMF/TL)

Completeness -

The archive presents only a partial record of the festival up to 2005. The only series which survive complete (or nearly complete) are the festival programmes (HCMF/EV) and the press reviews (HCMF/MD/2). All other series are incomplete including board minutes, annual reports and accounts and planning and reporting. Full details of dates covered are in the catalogue.

The covering dates of the archive are given as 1976-2016. The archive does contain a small number of items, including scores, which date back to 1964. The covering dates are intended to describe the main bulk of the archival record of the festival. The Young Composers' award (HCMF/TL/2) was founded in 1976 and formed one of the main parts of the festival which was inaugurated in 1978.

There are large series of audio-visual recordings (HCMF/RE), scores (HCMF/SC) and composer and performer details (HCMF/CP/2/6 and HCMF/CP/2/7). These were maintained by the festival as a research resource to support selecting the festival programme. It is clear that these series do not represent the entire life of the festival, but it is not clear what proportion of the festival programming they cover.

Similarly there is a large series of contract files relating to composers and performers at the festival (HCMF/CP/2/1). It is not clear how complete this series is.

The records of the Young Composers' award (HCMF/TL/2) have a complete record of winners from the first competition in 1976 to 2000 (with a gap for 1980). Other records about the award are incomplete.

Access and navigation -

This archive has been catalogued using 'more product, less process' methodology, which means that descriptions do not attempt to describe each item in the archive in detail. Descriptions give detail to enable the researcher to identify a bundle or box containing items of interest. Volunteer support has enabled full name-indexing of the series of contract files (HCMF/CP/2/1), composer biographical details (HCMF/CP/2/7), audio-visual recordings (HCMF/RE) and scores (HCMF/SC). A text search within the catalogue (for example for 'Boulez') will return all references to a composer or performer in those series.

The festival programmes (HCMF/EV) have not been indexed.

To find out what was performed at each festival use the series of festival programme books (HCMF/EV) which are organised by year and give the full programme. The unit of production is the annual bundle. There is also a list of works performed at festivals 1978-2005. (HCMF/CP/2/6)

The archive is a major resource for international contemporary music composition and performance. Festival administrators maintained research materials sent in by artists with proposals for performances. These comprise scores, audio-visual recordings and biographical details and lists of a composers' works and performers' repertoires. (HCMF/CP/2/6, HCMF/CP/2/7, HCMF/RE, HCMF/SC). These series have been fully name-indexed and a text search will return references to a composer or performer.

The series of contract files relating to composers and performers (HCMF/CP/2/1) has also been name-indexed. This series contains personal details about living individuals and access may be restricted under data protection legislation.

The founding artistic director, Richard Steinitz, produced analyses of several festival aspects and these are contained in the archive. They comprise:

Budget analysis, comparison and forecast 1985-2002 (HCMF/FN/1/1)

ticket sales analysis 1982-2001 (HCMF/MK/2/1)

performances given at the festivals 1978-2007; for example premieres, and organised by composer, some performers and by type eg choirs and vocal groups. (HCMF/CP/2/6)

a full list of works performed at festivals 1978-2005. (HCMF/CP/2/6)

Papers relating to the origins of the festival can be found at: HCMF/CP/1/1 and HCMF/FN/3/2/2

Visual materials include:

the series of festival programmes which record the festival branding throughout its history (HCMF/EV)

drawings and images of festival venue layouts (HCMF/CP/2/3)

festival volunteers' uniform clothing (HCMF/CP/2/5)

composers' biographical details (HCMF/CP/2/7)

photographs (HCMF/MD/3)

awards presented to the festival (HCMF/MD/4)

festival and concert posters (HCMF/MK/3/1) - a large series of posters at different sizes. 6 of these have been digitised and an electronic version is attached to the catalogue record

festival branding (HCMF/MK/3/2)

festival banner (HCMF/MK/3/3)

video recordings (HCMF/RE/4 and HCMF/MK/4)

scores (HCMF/SC)

Administrative / Biographical History

For a detailed history of the Festival see Richard Steinitz 'Explosions in November the first 33 years of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival' University of Huddersfield Press (2011) available at http// and in the Heritage Quay reading room.

From 1973 the Arts Council of Great Britain (later Arts Council England) promoted a contemporary music network with the aim of bringing concerts of new music to new audiences. Some of these concerts were held at Huddersfield Polytechnic (now the University of Huddersfield). In 1977 The Yorkshire Arts Association (later Yorkshire and Humberside Arts) set up a committee to pursue setting up a festival of contemporary music in Yorkshire. Richard Steinitz, a member of the music department at Huddersfield Polytechnic, was the chair. The committee decided that Huddersfield would be the best venue for a festival, centred on the polytechnic but in collaboration with Kirklees Council. A major reason for this choice was the polytechnic's BA music degree's emphasis on 20th century music. Richard Steinitz became the founding artistic director, a post he held until 2001.

The aim of the festival was to offer an attractive series of public concerts by leading artists and ensembles as well as lectures and workshops. Participants were envisaged as mainly young composers and students.

Funding was to be provided by Yorkshire Arts Association with other funding sought from other sources.

The first festival's headline artist was the American composer George Crumb and funding was given by the US State Department as well as the Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust and Arts Council Contemporary Music Network.

The first festival was held 13-17 October 1978. It has become an annual event and in 2017 the festival is celebrating its 40th edition.

In 1983 the festival became a registered charity, The Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival Ltd. Registered charity number 514614.

The archive currently deposited at Heritage Quay mainly covers the period 1978-2005. Deposits of festival programmes are kept up to date and it is anticipated that further deposits of later material will be made in the future.

Access Information

These records contain personal data relating to living individuals. The original may be made available for individual consultation if the following terms have been met:

- the Heritage Quay supervisor is satisfied that the researcher is consulting the records for historical research purposes only and will not cause substantial damage or distress to any subject of the records

- the researcher has been alerted to the Data Protection principles that they must follow

- the researcher has signed a Researcher Undertaking form

It may be possible to provide a redacted copy of a record if certain sections contain data that is not suitable for production.

Ask the archivist responsible for the collection, or senior member of staff, if you have any Data Protection concerns around making these records accessible.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

This collection has been listed using MPLP methodology. Therefore not all non-archival packaging has been replaced. It is otherwise in good condition.

Appraisal Information

Duplicate material has been weeded and recommended for disposal.

Custodial History

This archive consists of 2 main accessions and ongoing accruals.

Accession ???? was deposited by the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in 2008? It has been fully listed in this catalogue. Although it is an incomplete record it is understood to represent all the archival material which survives up to 2005.

Accession 2016-42 was gifted to the University in 2016 by Richard Steinitz. It has been fully incorporated into this catalogue. Items related to his own activities as artistic director or had been extracted from the main archive for research towards his book 'Explosions in November'.

Accruals from the festival management consist mainly of festival programme booklets and press review compilations.

Catalogued September 2017

Related Material

Records relating to Huddersfield Polytechnic and the University of Huddersfield can be found at collection reference HUD

The British Music Information Centre's Cutting Edge concert series usually presented performances at the festival. Further details on this programme can be found at BMC/EV/2

One of the venues used by the festival is the Lawrence Batley Theatre. Further details on this venue and its programme are at collection reference KTT