Kip Winger Celebrates the Life of Choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky Debut Classical Album

Conversations With Nijinsky, a four-movement musical tribute to the artistry and life of Nijinsky is the centerpiece of Kip Winger's debut album as a classical composer. Performed by the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra with Martin West conducting, and recorded by GRAMMY®-winning recording engineer Leslie Ann Jones, Winger's world-premiere recording declares loudly and clearly that, while he may be the front man of the rock band Winger, he is a force to be reckoned with as a classical composer.

The album also includes a recording of Winger's ballet, Ghosts, a composition that has finally made its way to CD after a nine-year odyssey. World-renowned choreographer Christopher Wheeldon has been a champion of the piece ever since Winger sent him his first sketch of Ghosts in 2007. After convincing the composer to add four minutes to the score, Wheeldon subsequently choreographed a ballet that ran in the San Francisco Ballet repertoire for four years, with performances at Lincoln Center in New York, Sadler's Wells Theatre in London, the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco, and the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.

Winger is no stranger to ballet, having studied it since he was 16 as an extension of his interest in martial arts. His exposure over the years to the many ballet scores of Tchaikovsky, Ravel, Stravinsky and Debussy made the form a natural choice as he began to explore classical composition.

But the transition to classical composing was no overnight decision. Winger dug deep into the process, studying ear training and composition with such prominent teachers as Richard Danielpour, Michael Kurek and Richard Hermann. His traditional approach has resulted in commissions from the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Sun River Music Festival (Oregon), and the Tucson Symphony. Winger's partnership with Martin West and the award-winning San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, which developed during the Ghost performances, culminated in the orchestra's commitment to Winger's music and this recording in particular.

Conductor Martin West states, "I think he does feel like he has something to prove. I personally don't think he has anything to prove. For him, I think he would love to be known as a classical composer of note. That's very difficult for anyone to achieve. But as far as I'm concerned, he is and I'm happy to be his advocate and play his music."

The final work featured on the album, an adagio titled A Parting Grace, is a chamber piece which Winger - from his unique perspective as both a composer and a dancer - sees as yet another link to ballet. Winger says he "sees" all of his music as dance, subscribing to George Balanchine's idea that we should "see the music, hear the Dance." Winger's debut album enables the listener to do just that.

This VBI Classical Recording is digitally distributed by Naxos in conventional and high resolution formats and as a CD through CD Baby, Amazon and others.

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