Paul McCartney composes a work for New York City Ballet

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In an unexpected intersection of celebrity pop music and ballet — that most refined of the performing arts — Paul McCartney has written a major orchestral work for the New York City Ballet.

It is a love story titled “Ocean’s Kingdom” and will have its premiere at the company’s fall gala on Sept. 22, with other performances on dates to be announced next season, Mr. McCartney and company officials said on Wednesday. City Ballet’s ballet master in chief, Peter Martins, will create the choreography.

In his first interview about the work, Mr. McCartney, speaking by telephone in New York on Wednesday, called it “basically a romantic story” involving two worlds: the ocean kingdom, representing purity, and the earth kingdom, inhabited by “the sort of baddies.” The daughter of the ocean king falls in love with the brother of the earth king, and “you’ll have to see whether the couple make it,” Mr. McCartney said. “There’s all sort of troubles along the way.”

He excused himself for not being prepared to give a clearer plot summary. “It’s better than I’m making it sound,” he said.

Since his time with the Beatles and Wings, Mr. McCartney, 68, has long staked a claim in the world of classical music. And branching out into ballet music is the latest effort in other realms. He has published poetry and children’s literature, and mounted shows of his paintings.

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