Today the second single leading up to the album is out, and like the first one it’s heavily inspired by my jazz roots.
Looking across my different platforms I’ve build over the last 10 years to host this special niche of my musical output it shows an astounding 1.5 million monthly streams. 2/3 of them coming from my Ballet Music DK YouTube channel that recently hit the 50.000 followers mark.
It’s crazy numbers and even more crazy is the fact that I never intended to go down this route. In fact I got into the world of ballet somewhat by chance. 😊
I’m a jazz pianist by heart, and I’ve been obsessed with improvising and jazz music since I was 12, when I stumbled upon an album in my father’s record collection by the late great Oscar Peterson. “We Get Requests” was the name of the album and I was “sold” after the first song.
I attended the local conservatory when I was 20, and for seven wonderful years I immersed myself completely in the world of jazz, improvisation and a lot of practicing at the piano. After graduation and some amazing traveling and studying in the USA and Canada, I moved to Copenhagen to continue my journey down the jazz alley.
To support myself I applied for different jobs accompanying singers and choirs – Something I had done a lot during my student years and liked a lot. But competition was hard in Copenhagen and after many rejections one day I received an email to come and try accompanying a dance class instead.
I didn’t even know there existed such a thing as a dance accompanist but the following week I found myself for the first time in a dance studio improvising my way through a ballet class. There were 25 young students and, luckily for me, a very open-hearted and open-minded ballet teacher who didn’t come down on me for not knowing anything about La Bayadere or Swan Lake. 😊
In fact she really liked my jazzy version of Summertime for the centre tendu and, whenever she hummed some famous ballet theme for a special exercise, I was usually able to improvise something on the spot that had kind of the same vibe. And when she didn’t give any clues, I quickly found that the movement of the dancers was a very strong source of inspiration too.
I was sold after the first class, and luckily I got the job. 😊
I started studying ballet accompaniment and got an amazing mentor in Kim Helweg who plays at the Royal Danish Ballet School (where I later would do some playing myself). I even dug out my grandmother’s old book of Strauss Waltzes and also managed to learn a few of the most common ballet themes.
I soon started composing my own music for the classes and, in 2013, I released my first ballet class album supervised by my good friend and ballet teacher Allan Nielsen. It was the album “Music for Ballet & Contemporary Classes“. A two CD album with the first CD being music for a complete ballet class and the second one being more electronic/ambient music I had composed for contemporary dance classes.
I worked as a freelance dance accompanist for 5-6 years all over Copenhagen including the Royal Danish Ballet, The Danish National School of Performing Arts, Danish Dance Theatre, Dansehallerne and The Pantomime Theatre in Tivoli.
Although I don’t work as a dance accompanist anymore I still find tremendous inspiration in watching dance and dancers and I compose on a daily basis and keep releasing music for dance simply because I think it’s a lot of fun and because I keep getting requests to make new music. 😊
I’m currently working on an album with ballet class music for children. I have the greatest respect for this art form, and helping and supporting dancers, students and teachers through my music is something I cherish deeply. In fact, it’s become a really big part of my life – although I still of course very much enjoy touring with my jazz trio and performing, whether it’s solo or as a sideman with one of the bands I regularly gig with here in Denmark.
Another fun thing that has come out of my ballet class music adventure is a path into the world of licensing. It turns out a lot of the music works great for movies and pictures.
Last year one of my pieces found its way into a major Hollywood movie – the third chapter “Parabellum” of the John Wicks series starring Keanu Reeves and Halle Berry. I recently started collecting all my music placements on this page if you’d like to have a look.
To keep things a little separate my ballet music has it’s own shop and website over at www.musicforballetclass.com
To finish this blog post off in a musical way, here’s a clip from the studio recording a song from my new album “Music for Ballet Class, Vol.5”