C. F. Kip Winger
Photo: Andres Martinez
Kip Winger's Surreal Classical Journey: From Alice Cooper To The GRAMMYs
(The Recording Academy asked some of this year's first-time GRAMMY nominees to collect their thoughts and share what it feels like to be nominated for a GRAMMY.)
Dec. 6, 2016, 7:55 a.m. I open my email and see in the subject, CONGRATULATIONS, Kip!
I'm like, "Hmm, what's this about?" I had completely forgotten that my record was even entered and didn't think I had a shot in hell to be nominated. So, I open the email and see that I'm nominated for Best Contemporary Classical Composition. Absolutely amazed, I yelled out, "Yesss!"
Dancing around in the living room, I woke my wife, who wasn't too impressed until she came downstairs and saw me dancing and figured out I had just been nominated and joined in. High fives, yelling and a million emails from all my friends.
It was a long road from the rock world to the classical world. In 1985 in Alice Cooper's band, I was always on the bus studying counterpoint and listening to Stravinsky while everyone was partying. I never imagined anyone would play my symphonic music. I studied it purely for the love of it. While constantly on the road performing in Winger and solo around the world, I've continued studying with various composition teachers as time has permitted, most recently with Richard Danielpour, who, at my third lesson said to me, "You're a classical composer disguised as a rock guy."
In 2010 I collaborated with Tony Award-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon on the ballet "Ghosts" with the San Francisco Ballet and he introduced me to conductor Martin West. Martin had the idea to record an album of my music with Leslie Ann Jones at Skywalker Sound and voila! We're all the way to the GRAMMYs. It's totally surreal.
I'm incredibly honored to be in the company of four of the great composers [Mason Bates, Michael Daugherty, Jennifer Higdon, and Christopher Theofanidis] of our time, all of whom I've listened to many, many times. I'm really looking forward to the whole event.
(C. F. Kip Winger is nominated for Best Contemporary Classical Composition for Winger: Conversations With Nijinsky. He is also frontman for the hard-rock band Winger.)
Tune in to the 59th Annual GRAMMY Awards live from Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 12 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on CBS.