Ping It, Ring It, Roll It, Write It


Birmingham Conservatoire, part of Birmingham City University, presents a day of musical fun and games on Sunday 6 May 2012 in the city’s historic Jewellery Quarter.

The event, part of the UK-wide PRS for Music Foundation’s New Music 20x12 programme and inspired by the spirit of the Olympic Games, includes the world premiere of ‘The Voyage’, a 12 minute opera from composer Michael Wolters and theatre company Stan’s Café.

Using the Olympic theme, the story follows a mythological character leaving home to face challenges overseas, in the hope of returning a hero. One of the performance’s most striking features is the mobile nature of the audience. Mounted on castors, a custom-made seating bank is designed to roll spectators 20 metres from the action before bringing them back home.

The Voyage, a playful two-act opera for a voice, a double bass and eight recorders, is the second collaboration between Michael Wolters, Deputy Head of Composition at Birmingham Conservatoire, and Stan’s Café, whose radical theatre productions have been acclaimed around the world.

Table tennis inspiration

Also airing throughout the day are three other imaginative and inspiring New Music 20x12 works, each just 12 minutes in length.

‘Ping!’ is a collaboration between composer and Birmingham Conservatoire Head of Composition Joe Cutler, Coull Quartet and Fusion Table Tennis Club which explores the distinct sounds and rhythms of a game of table tennis.

Composer and Birmingham Conservatoire Composition Tutor Howard Skempton’s ‘Five Rings Triples’ is an Olympian twist on the English bell ringing tradition – a heady combination of music, sport-like skill and maths for the world’s heaviest instruments. Coventry Doicesan Guild of Bellringers will be ringing the piece throughout the day from nearby St Paul’s Church where attendees can visit the bell tower and find out more about the art of bell ringing.

Finally, fellow Birmingham Conservatoire Composition Tutor Richard Causton is to introduce a film and discuss the inspiration behind his yet-to-be-performed new piece ‘Twenty-Seven Heavens’. Written for a large 120 piece orchestra, it is inspired by William Blake’s famed verse, Jerusalem, and areas of London, including the main Olympic site.

Performances throughout the day

Performances take place at regular intervals throughout the day alongside a variety of other activities, including workshops, talks, face painting, Wii games and video screenings. With an on-site café also open, visitors are invited to stay for as long as they like and sample the rolling programme.

David Saint, Acting Principal at Birmingham Conservatoire, said: “The New Music 20x12 commissions were hotly contested and we are proud that four of the 20 have been won by our staff. This event will be a great adventure for the whole family and will prove that contemporary music can be enjoyed by anyone.”

Ping It, Ring It, Roll It, Write It
Sunday 6 May 2012 at AE Harris, 110 Northwood Street, Birmingham, B3 1SZ from 11.45am until 5.30pm.
Admission is £4/£6, with under 5s free.

For more information and advance bookings, visit

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