All entries for November 2015

November 20, 2015

The Coull Quartet: our Quartet–in–Residence since 1977


The Coull Quartet has been Warwick's Quartet-in-Residence since 1977 and has a wide-ranging role that includes giving an annual series of concerts at Warwick Arts Centre, acting as ambassadors for the University and generally encouraging musical activity around the campus alongside our Music Centre. The members of the Quartet tell us more about their roles and what they believe music can contribute to the student experience in today's 50@50.

RogerRoger Coull studied the violin at the Royal Academy of Music in London and it was there that he formed the Coull Quartet in 1974. In addition to playing in the Coull Quartet Roger is an experienced conductor and teacher.

He was appointed principal conductor of the Warwickshire Symphony Orchestra in 2014, and is also a regular guest conductor of the Guernsey Symphony Orchestra, Associate Conductor of the Beauchamp Sinfonietta, conductor of the University of Warwick String Orchestra, and a regular director of the Helix Ensemble, the Academy of St Thomas, and the Crendon Chamber Orchestra, amongst others.

He was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Music for his services to professional music making. In his spare time his hobbies include cycling and photography.

PhillipPhilip Gallaway was educated in Norfolk, and studied violin at the Royal Academy of Music. Always having been drawn to the chamber music repertoire, he joined Roger Coull as a founder member of the Coull Quartet in 1974.

In addition to his quartet playing, he has appeared with many orchestras, including the London Mozart Players, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the English String Orchestra.

He regularly plays with Orchestra da Camera and Sinfonia Viva as leader, section principal or soloist. He also enjoys his role as teacher and chamber music coach at Warwick and beyond, working with students aged from 9 to 90. Philip is also a keen gardener, and when time permits, he enjoys tending the fruit and vegetables on his allotment.

JonathanJonathan Barritt studied at the Royal Northern College of Music with Atar Arad and Mischa Geller and was awarded all the major prizes for viola. He graduated with distinction in 1983, was immediately offered a position with the English Chamber Orchestra, and has since regularly played concertos with them.

He has appeared as Guest Principal Viola with the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Philharmonia and BBC Symphony Orchestras and has played with many chamber groups, including Capricorn, Divertimenti, Raphael, Gaudier and Primavera ensembles. Jonathan has given Quartet concerts with William Pleeth, James Galway and Kiri Ta Kanawa, as well as being a member of the Allegri String Quartet for six years, and is currently professor of viola at the Royal College of Music. Given half a chance he will escape to his garden shed where he produces beautiful turned wooden bowls.

Nick RobertsNick Roberts enjoyed a varied freelance career for 20 years before joining the Quartet in 2000. Following studies at the Royal College of Music with Amaryllis Fleming, he toured the world with the English Chamber Orchestra, working with many top soloists and conductors, before branching out into other areas of music, including west end shows, contemporary dance, new music, baroque ensembles, and chamber music.

His commercial recording has encompassed backing tracks for groups such as the Sugababes, Boyzone, Pink Floyd and Peter Gabriel, TV programmes including Inspector Morse, Forsyte Saga and Downton Abbey, and film soundtracks for Harry Potter, Da Vinci Code and the Mummy Returns and many others. Away from the cello he is often to be found in a dusty archive, or studying the economic and social history of music.

Tell us a bit about the history of the quartet. When did you form and with what purpose?

The Coull Quartet was formed in 1974 at the Royal Academy of Music under the guidance and mentorship of Sidney Griller, who encouraged us towards a life of playing chamber music. After a period of intensive study we continued working together as a quartet with the help of a Leverhulme scholarship. Soon after this we competed for the post as Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Warwick. We were appointed in 1977 and, alongside our international career, have been actively involved in music at Warwick ever since.

What's your role at the University? Roughly how many concerts do you perform each year?

The role of the Quartet at the University has evolved over time, but has always involved giving a concert series at Warwick Arts Centre, coaching student groups, taking orchestral sectional rehearsals and teaching individual students. The number of concerts given by the Quartet at the Arts Centre varies a little from year to year, but once included the complete Beethoven cycle in six concerts. In addition, we're involved in collaborations with various departments of the University, most recently the English and Physics departments. We also have an ambassadorial role for the University, and very recently performed in Singapore at an event that raised substantial funds for scholarships to enable Singaporean students to study at Warwick.

How do you think music can help students during their time at Warwick?

Music is an important part of many students’ lives before they arrive at Warwick, and some already play or sing to an extremely high standard. There are plenty of opportunities for students to build on what they have already achieved, as the University has a large team of expert instrumental teachers. The wide choice of ensembles is also important, as being part of these provides much-needed relaxation, and is for many students a social highlight. There is also an annual concert series given by world-class musicians at Warwick Arts Centre, and sometimes visiting artists offer workshops for the students. A thriving musical scene has become an increasingly important factor for many students when choosing their university.

What changes have you seen at the University in terms of music/ performing arts since you started playing here?

The sheer increase in size and the ever-increasing diversity of the student population has resulted in a much broader variety in the performance arts, and music, in its various guises, seems to be reaching out to more young people than ever before. The Warwick ethos is to give everyone a chance to develop their musical talents to the full, and to experience a wide variety of genres.

Are you doing anything special to mark the University’s 50th anniversary?

One of the highlights of our 50th anniversary year has been the University’s new commission for us from the composer Joe Cutler. Joe’s new quartet ‘Mind Moves Matter‘ emerged from a week-long ‘This Is Tomorrow’ residency run by the Arts Centre, during which he immersed himself in campus life and sought musical inspiration from his experiences. He was fascinated, for instance, by the contrast between the rather anonymous and grey exteriors of some of the campus buildings, and the intense activity, creativity and cutting-edge research taking place within them.

We're thrilled that he has managed to convey these images and impressions of the University in his new quartet. So far we've given two preview performances during the 50th anniversary year and we’re looking forward to giving the official premiere of the complete work during the Spring Term.

How do you hope music provision at universities might change over the next 50 years?

Warwick, as always, leads the way by being the only UK university to have a substantial and long term professional music residency working alongside its Arts Centre and student music centre. We hope that more UK universities will come to realise the benefits of facilitating the long term involvement of professional arts practitioners on campus, and that they'll become increasingly active in supporting the complex ‘ecosystem’ of music and the arts that plays such a vital, though often undervalued, role in the wider economy.

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November 13, 2015

"Good ingredients in equals good food out"


Graham Crump is the University's Development Chef, managing Rootes kitchen and providing support to our training and conference centres. He shares some cooking tips and a favourite recipe for you to try in this week's 50@50.

Did you always want to work in the food industry? How did you come to work at Warwick?

My interest in food evolved from helping my grandmother, who was a great cook. She had owned and operated a number of small businesses, all food related, and was also a school cook in the days when the ingredients were all fresh and seasonal.

I started in the industry at a large hotel at the age of 14, working part time, which developed into an apprenticeship and a full-time post.

Having worked for a number of hotel and restaurant groups both large chains and private groups I was looking for a new challenge and was made aware of the opening of the first conference and training centre at Warwick (Arden House, which in those days was called the Executive Post Experience Centre).

What does your role involve at Warwick?

My day-to-day role is managing and running Rootes kitchen, providing delivered food across campus and catering for the large events in Rootes. I also support the training and conference centres.

What’s your favourite thing about working at Warwick?

It has to be the progressive attitude of Warwick, along with the people and the environment.

What’s your favourite meal/ signature dish?

Too many favourite meals to recall! A memorable meal was when I was stranded in Frankfurt in the middle of January. Cold, wet and hungry, a colleague and I found a small restaurant that provided the “house special” - 10 different types of sausage, sauerkraut, mashed potato and a stein of beer! A great meal.

I'm also lucky enough in my position as Secretary of the World Association of Chefs Societies Education Committee to have eaten in some of the great restaurants and hotels of the world.

I don't have any particular signature dish although I do enjoy producing desserts, having been trained as a pastry chef in my career.

Where does your inspiration come from? Do you have any favourite chefs?

My inspiration comes from the unsung heroes of the kitchen, those chefs who don't seek the media limelight and just want to cook good food, like Paul Gayler, Adam Bennett, Luke Tipping and Paul Foster, an ex Warwick chef. However there are a few that get into media by default but have not lost their way, such as Rick Stein and Keith Floyd.

Have you had any cooking disasters?

Of course - that’s how you learn! I have had operational disasters as well though - working for a hotel group I was once asked to prepare a lunch for 60 and was all prepared when 600 turned up! Yes, they all got fed!

What cooking tips do you have for beginners?

Keep it simple, keep food areas clean and keep it fresh. Good ingredients in equals good food out.

Do you have a favourite simple recipe to share?

Here's a simple Swiss roll recipe that's easy to remember:

100g flour
100g sugar
100g egg

- Whisk the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy
- Fold in the sieved flour and spread onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet
- Bake in a preheated oven at 190c (Mark 6) for seven minutes.
- When cooked turn out onto greaseproof paper dusted with castor sugar, leave to cool slightly, then spread with jam and, using the paper, roll to form a Swiss roll.
- Add some fresh whipped cream along the top to make it that bit more special.

Queen of CampusHow do you think cooking in the UK has changed since the University opened in 1965?

Customers are well educated about food and ingredients now, produce is readily available all year round (although we have lost our way a little with seasonality), cooking gets prime time TV coverage and is now seen more as a career and a profession.

Do you have any predictions about how cooking will evolve over the next 50 years?

Food is like fashion, forever evolving and things will come and go. Molecular gastronomy is now on its way out, although elements of this will be retained and used. Core cooking skills will always come to the forefront and technology will progress, in particular for the home cook. Many keen cooks now have water baths, slow cookers, food processors etc as standard items in the home.

November 06, 2015

Krishnan Guru–Murthy visits campus for the Boar's 50th anniversary speaker series

ShanitaThis week Warwick honorary graduate Krishnan Guru-Murthy, journalist and presenter of Channel 4 News, came to campus as part of the Boar's 50th anniversary speaker series. First year Politics and International Studies student Shanita Jetha attended his Q and A session and tells us about it in today's 50@50.

Earlier this week I attended a question and answer session with Channel 4 presenter, journalist and Warwick honorary graduate Krishnan Guru-Murthy. This was organised by the Warwick Boar (Warwick's student newspaper, I highly recommend any eager writers to get involved :D ) at the Warwick Arts Centre. Last year, I attended a 'Young People's Question Time' event in Parliament which was chaired by Krishnan, so it was great to see him again and be able to ask him some questions this time! I found the Q&A both interesting and inspiring, so thought I should share some of what he said.

The event started with an introduction from Krishnan, explaining how he became a television presenter and what encouraged him to enter this field. Krishnan recieved an offer from the University of Oxford to study medicine but changed his mind, deciding to take a gap year and reapply to study Philosophy, Politics and Economics instead. During his gap year, he was given the opportunity to present on BBC2 and discovered a new passion.

Krishnan's drive allowed him to do something he finds enjoyable. Emphasising the importance of working hard, he said: "If you are interested in journalism, there are still lots of opportunities out there." A favourite quote of mine: "never give up, you never know how close you are to success." Take on any new opportunity which comes your way, and don't forget university is a time to try new things and get out of your comfort zone!

There were many questions asked, such as:

  • Who is your favourite interviewee?- "The ones you enjoy are the ones that are the most powerful"
  • Is the news too depressing?- "There are times when I certainly wouldn't let my children watch [the news]"
  • Do you think social media campaigns can be just as effective at holding politicians to account as journalists?- "It's important to remember that social media isn't necessarily a reflection of overall public opinion"
  • Do you think your interview style is controversial, if so why? - "Ultimately yes I do, as this is the best way to get answers"

This event was part of the Warwick Boar speaker series, to celebrate Warwick's 50th anniversary. There are lots of events taking place across campus, covering various academic disciplines.

For instance Warwick Business School alumnus Tobias Wagnert gave a talk on mergers and acquisitions two days ago as part of their series of guest lectures. Similarly, Rolls-Royce gave a presentation to engineering students explaining their contribution to the aviation industry.

These events are great for students to engage in debates and learn more about a particular field, possibly even one you hadn't thought about before.

Big thanks to Warwick for organising these!

Shanita is blogging about her time at Warwick on our Student Blogs page. Take a look at her posts >

November 04, 2015

How do you become a Master of Wine?

RebeccaWarwick alumna Rebecca Gibb has recently become one of just 340 people in the world to hold the title 'Master of Wine'. What exactly does this mean and how can you become one? Rebecca tells us all in today's 50@50.

Tell us a bit about your time at Warwick.
I was a History and Politics student between 1999 and 2002 and while there wasn’t much contact time each week – I think it was around seven hours – the workload was demanding and incredibly stimulating.

I still managed to find time to play in the university orchestra, be part of the athletics team, was the first female member of the university weightlifting club and contributed to the Boar from time to time.

How did you imagine the future when were you a student?
I didn’t know what I wanted to do to be honest but writing for the Boar did give me a taste for writing. I worked for a PR firm once a week while in my final year and took a job with them after graduating, and thought that might be the way I would go. I quickly realised full-time PR and I weren’t suited. I found it very hard to get excited about writing press releases about dog food!

How did reality match your expectations?
The biggest shock when you graduate is that you still go in at the bottom, earn a meager wage and have to work your way up. A degree is a must-have for many employers but you also need to have relevant work experience and that takes time.

Tell us a bit about your career journey.
I discovered my love of wine, not over a £2 bottle of Lambrini from the supermarket on campus, but on a trip to Australia over summer break. I managed to find a job in the wine industry and to cut a long story short, entered and won the UK’s young wine writer of the year in 2006 and was then given a two-week internship on a wine trade magazine in London. From there, I was offered a job with the magazine, later going on to freelance for a number of well-known wine magazines around the world.

I went on to win the inaugural Louis Roederer Young Wine Writer of the Year in 2010 and have since edited the site of the world’s largest wine search engine – a little like the Google of wine – and was then recruited by a new luxury lifestyle magazine based in Hong Kong. Where does Warwick fit in all this? I admit I did once wonder what use a history and politics degree would be but the skills that I acquired – research, processing huge amounts of information, constructing a reasoned argument, writing up to three or four essays some weeks – are essential to my role as a journalist and editor.

What is your current role? What do you like most about it? Any challenges?
I’m the deputy editor of LE PAN, a luxury fine wine and lifestyle magazine that launched in June 2015. While it’s based in Hong Kong, I work remotely from New Zealand, where I live with my Kiwi husband and young son. I’m soon to relocate back to the UK to be closer to the wine action in Europe.

What is a ‘Master of Wine? How did you become one?
The Master of Wine course is considered the highest qualification in the wine industry. There are just 340 people in the world who hold the title. It takes several years of study to be accepted on the course and then to become a Master of Wine – or MW – you have to pass five theory papers, three tasting exams and finally write a 10,000-word research paper. It’s the Everest of the wine world and brings credibility and respect.

What advice would you give to students wishing to go into journalism after graduation?
Expect to start in a lowly position and work your way up. If you’re good, you’ll rise quickly. Be humble, take a short unpaid internship, if necessary; work hard, have passion – if you don’t care about what you’re doing, you’re in the wrong job – be kind to everyone you meet, network like hell, and always be looking to update and gain new skills. Don’t forget, you’re going to be in the job market for a long time and success doesn’t come overnight.

Do you have any advice for our freshers?
Warwick students are all high achievers academically and you’ll no longer be the brainiest student like you were at school and sixth form. Don’t be stressed out by it. You are among like-minded people and you are here to expand your mind – and your social life. Remember to have fun – and try not to spend all your money in the first term!

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