Paul McCartney to compose his first ballet

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Sir Paul McCartney, 68, is taking his love of composing classical music to a new level by writing his first original orchestral score for a ballet.

   The former Beatle is composing the music for the New York City Ballet (NYCB) company’s production of Ocean’s Kingdom – a new romantic ballet which will have its world premiere in New York on September 22.

   Ocean’s Kingdom is said to be a Romeo and Juliet-style love story about a forbidden love affair between the daughter of the king of the “pure” ocean kingdom and the brother of the king of the “baddie” earth kingdom. The four-act ballet will feature some 50 minutes of music and will involve more than 40 dancers.

   “I am always interested in new directions that I haven’t worked in before, so I became very excited about the idea,” Sir Paul told The New York Times. He said he was astounded by the athleticism of the ballet dancers. “It’s like a meeting of the Olympic games and art. I find that fascinating and challenging for me, to see what can be done.”

   Sir Paul’s involvement in the project began last year when he met NYCB’s ballet master-in-chief Peter Martins at a charity event. “Like the rest of my generation, I grew up being a huge fan of The Beatles so I was thrilled to meet him,” said Martins, who will create the choreography for Ocean’s Kingdom.

  “After I got to know him a bit, and knowing of his great love of composing classical music,” said Martins, “I asked if he might be interested in doing something for New York City Ballet. I am ecstatic that he has agreed to write a score for us.”

   After writing some of the greatest pop songs of the last 50 years, Sir Paul McCartney first dipped his toes into classical music in 1991, when he wrote the Liverpool Oratorio with Carl Davis for the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s 150th anniversary. His other classical works include Standing Stone, Working Classical and Ecce Cor Meum.

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