Coventry & Warwickshire

Cultural Olympiad 2012's musical debt to table tennis

Music inspired by table tennis and church bells has been commissioned for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

Ping!, a table tennis-inspired piece, is a collaboration between Joe Cutler, of the University of Warwick's Coull String Quartet, and artist Tom Dale.

The second piece, with church bells, has been written to be performed across the UK, at New Year 2012.

They are two of 20 new pieces that have been commissioned for New Music 20x12, a central part of the Olympiad.

Ping! mirrors the sounds and syncopation of a table tennis match in a piece of orchestral music.

Warwick Arts Centre and Birmingham Conservatoire are also involved with the production, which will be performed at the arts centre using table tennis players.

Talking about his composition, Mr Cutler said: "BBC Radio 3 and also the Performing Rights Society issued this call [to compose pieces]... So as soon as we saw that, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to do this piece that we'd talked about in the past."

Table tennis is close to Mr Cutler's heart as his brother was a champion player.

'Inspire confidence'

Image caption Mr Skempton uses the bells of St Mary's Church in Warwick as part of his piece

The second piece of music will bring together eight church bells, to mark the start of 2012.

Composer Howard Skempton, of Leamington Spa, who works with the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers, has created a piece called Wild Bells to a Wild Sky, in partnership with production company Third Ear.

Mr Skempton said: "Sport and the arts are linked and I think they both inspire confidence. They both enhance people's lives in their own way.

"I think it's wonderful that the 2012 commission seemed to reach parts that other commissions don't."

New Music 20x12 is a UK-wide programme that consists of 20 outstanding new works, each lasting 12 minutes, which have been commissioned to feature centre stage of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

The music will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and will tour the UK.

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