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University of Warwick string quartet go batty for musical premiere of Ping!


Table tennis and classical music may seem a strange mix but the two will come together at the University of Warwick next month for a unique performance as part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

The renowned Coull Quartet, the University of Warwick’s resident string quartet, will perform the 12-minute piece of music called Ping!on Saturday 3 March at Warwick Arts Centre.

The free event will be the premier of Ping!, which explores the distinct sounds and rhythms that table tennis players make. The piece has been composed by Joe Cutler, as part of PRS for Music Foundation’s New Music 20x12 programme celebrating the 2012 Cultural Olympiad and the BBC’s Music Nation.

Ping! will premiere on the stage of the Butterworth Hall in Warwick Arts Centre at 12noon, 2pm and 4pm.

These performances are free, and will encompass a variety of innovative music performances, culminating in the mixed-media spectacular in the Butterworth Hall. The event will also feature vocal ping pong with the University choir, basketball percussion by composer Damien Harron, and a ping pong DJ.

As well as the promenade performances, Warwick Arts Centre will be offering an afternoon packed full of fun family events, including drumming workshops and ping pong badge-making. Table tennis enthusiasts are invited to enter a variety of different short competitions, and can join the attempt to beat the world record for the most players taking part in a consecutive table tennis rally. Visitors can also challenge the Robo Pong 2050 table tennis robot and get coaching from the Fusion Table Tennis Club.

Composer Joe Cutler has worked closely with the Coull Quartet and Fusion Table Tennis Club in Bromley, Kent, to create the innovative piece of music. Ping! also encompasses a film by international visual artist Tom Dale.

Nick Roberts, cello player for the University of Warwick resident Coull Quartet, said: “Joe’s work is colourful, exciting and fun, and we are all really looking forward to performing it as part of the Ping! Music vs Table Tennis event.

“Warwick Arts Centre will be transformed for the day by the sound and rhythms of dozens of table tennis players, combined with lots of performances of table tennis-inspired music. I think the whole event will be entertaining, enjoyable, thought-provoking and perhaps just a little surreal and eccentric.”

The premier of Ping! will feature Joe’s brother Tom, who is a leading England table tennis player, combining the siblings passions for the two disciplines.

Joe said: “Table tennis is a very aural sport, full of its own rhythms and sounds, so developing a piece that combined the sound worlds of music and table tennis seemed a very natural idea. My brother is a coach at a club called Fusion, based in South-East London and it seemed a good idea to involve his club…String quartet seemed a medium that could combine particularly well with table tennis as there are sounds that are common to both. My wife is a member of the Coull Quartet and I am very familiar with their playing and also their openness to new ideas, so they emerged as very natural partners for this collaboration. I also thought it would be a good idea to involve a visual artist and to use image as a means to help find further areas of commonality between sport and music.”

Vanessa Reed, Executive Director of PRS for Music Foundation said: “Like all of the commissions we’ve supported, Ping! gives everyone involved a chance to explore new ways of creating and presenting music.

“By fusing music with the sound of sport, this commission is a unique contribution to New Music 20x12”

New Music 20×12 is a UK-wide programme which consists of twenty outstanding new works, each lasting 12 minutes, commissioned to feature centre stage of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. New Music 20×12 commissions will be broadcast by BBC Radio 3 and tour the UK, enabling as many people as possible to enjoy excellent new music as part of our celebrations of the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.



A day of free activities for all the family
Sat 3 Mar 12-6pm

No need to book, just drop in

Ping! Music vs Table Tennis and Musical Promenade
Sat 3 Mar 12noon, 2pm & 4pm

FREE but please book your tickets through Box Office on 024 7652 4524. Limited availability for the full promenade. Additional free tickets will be available for the final section in the Butterworth Hall.

Sign up for all other activities on the day.


Notes to Editors

For interviews or filming opportunities with the Coull Quartet or for more information contact Luke Hamer, Assistant Press Officer, University of Warwick, on 02476 575601, or on 07824 541142.

Warwick Arts Centre
Based in Coventry in the West Midlands and sitting on the campus of the University of Warwick, Warwick Arts Centre is one of the most significant presenters and co-producers of contemporary performing and visual arts in the UK with a programme including theatre, classical music, live art, dance, music, literature, comedy, family events and visual art. Warwick Arts Centre’s work is avowedly contemporary and international in scope and dimension.

Coull Quartet

Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Warwick since 1977, the Coull Quartet has performed and broadcast extensively throughout the UK, the USA and Western Europe, and has also toured China, India, the Far East, South America and Australia. The Coull Quartet has an active commissioning policy, and enjoys performing new music to their audiences throughout the UK and abroad. 2012 sees performances in venues including London’s Southbank Centre, a sports centre in South East London, and a former industrial arts space in Birmingham. In October they will tour to Brazil, performing in major concert halls across the country. The Quartet gives an annual series of recitals at Warwick Arts Centre, where it is actively involved in the University of Warwick’s flourishing musical life.

Performers: Roger Coull, Phillip Gallaway,  Rose Redgrave, Nicholas Roberts

Joe Cutler

His music has been performed in over 30 countries and on 6 continents including performances at venues such as Bang-on-a-Can Music Marathon (New York), Gaudeamus Music Week (Amsterdam), Opera City (Tokyo), Musik Monat (Basle). Since the late 1990s he has spent a considerable amount of time in the Netherlands, working with such groups and performers as Orkest de Ereprijs, Orkest de Volharding, Netherlands Wind Ensemble, Harry Sparnaay, Annelie de Man and Tomoko Mukaiyama, whilst in the UK he has worked particularly closely with Darragh Morgan, Mary Dullea, Robin Michael, Sarah Leonard and Noszferatu (an ensemble which he co-directs). In recent year he has also written a number of orchestral pieces and has worked recently with the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Swedish Chamber Orchestra, The Orchestra of the Swan and the RTE National Symphony Orchestra. His has worked both in the concert hall and outside, working with visual artists such as Tom Dale, Jaap Drupsteen and Gary Ward and has written music for the National Theatre, London. Since 2000 he has taught at Birmingham Conservatoire where he is currently Head of Composition.

Tom Dale

Tom Dale was born in Kendal UK in 1974. Solo exhibitions have included 'Formal Pleasure', Centre for Contemporary Art, Neuchatel, Switzerland (2012); 'Memorial Drag Strip', Poppy Sebire, London (2011); IFC Center, New York (2009); Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw (2008); Plymouth Arts Centre (2008); Union Gallery, London (2006-7); Collective Gallery, Edinburgh (2002) and Zacheta Gallery, Warsaw (2000). Dale has participated in recent group exhibitions including The Art of the Pop Video, Museum of Applied Arts Cologne (2011); Dawnbreakers, John Hansard Gallery, Southampton (2010); Videonale 12, Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow/Kunstmuseum, Bonn (2010/2009); Deceitful Moon, Hayward Gallery, London (2009) and Reckless Behavior, Getty Museum, LA (2006). Dale holds an MA from Goldsmiths and is currently undertaking doctoral research at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. Tom Dale: Towards an Absolute was published by Plymouth Arts Centre in 2009.

Fusion Table Tennis Club

South London based Fusion TTC is a vibrant community based table tennis club that has become one of the largest and most successful clubs in the UK.

Fusion runs four times a week with up to eighty members/guests attending their club sessions from an eclectic mix of nationalities and ages ranging from 4 to 70, from beginners to internationally ranked players brought together through their shared passion for table tennis. Fusion runs regular coaching sessions and a host of teams from local leagues to the British Premier League where Fusion is currently sitting 2nd, one point adrift of the top.

Ping! Funders

Ping! Music vs Table Tennis is part of PRS for Music Foundation’s New Music 20x12 - a UK-wide commissioning programme initiated by Jillian Barker and David Cohen, and delivered in partnership with the BBC, LOCOG and NMC Recordings.

New Music 20×12 is generously supported by the following committed patrons and funders: Arts Council England, Creative Scotland, John S. Cohen Foundation, PRS for Music Foundation, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Arts Council of Wales, Columbia Foundation Fund of the Capital Community Foundation, Incorporated Society of Musicians, Musicians Benevolent Fund, Jerwood Charitable Foundation, RVW Trust, Charlotte and Dennis Stevenson, Tolkien Trust, The Leche Trust, The Bliss Trust, Finzi Trust, The Worshipful Company of Musicians, Lilian Slowe, John and Ann Tusa, John Wates Charitable Trust, Richard Walduck, Honeymead Arts Trust, and Sir Anthony Cleaver.

Ping! will be broadcast on 19 May on BBC Radio 3 and will be available to download from NMC Recordings at 

See  for more information.