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An Ashford University Summer Pops Special Concert
Sunday, August 18, 7:30pm

Joey Newman, conductor

Experience the joy of Pixar’s most beloved characters from the Toy Story trilogy, Cars, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, WALL•E and Up to the latest release, Academy Award-winner Brave, and more. The visually stunning film clips accompanied by their memorable scores performed live by the San Diego Symphony will enchant and delight.

Come early and meet our many Pixar costumers! You can meet Nemo from Finding Nemo, Barbie and Woody from Toy Story 3, Mr. and Mrs. Incredible from The Incredibles, Sully from Monsters, Inc. and many more!

Presentation licensed by Disney Concert Library © Disney/Pixar.

New for 2013: All Summer Pops 2013 single ticket prices are SUBJECT TO CHANGE up until showtime WITHOUT ANY GIVEN NOTICE. WANT TO LOCK IN YOUR PRICES?

CLICK HERE to read U-T San Diego's preview of the San Diego Symphony's Ashford University Summer Pops 2013 Season!  



The 13 feature films that Pixar Animation Studios has produced with The Walt Disney Studios, have changed the way we look at animation for the big screen. Critics across the country have remarked on the quality of the storytelling, the cleverness of the scripts and the increasingly lifelike look of the computer-generated imagery that the Pixar team employs.

One of the distinguishing aspects of the Pixar films is serious and respectful attention to music and its role in that storytelling. All 13 scores have been written by just four composers: Randy Newman (b. 1943), Michael Giacchino (b. 1967), Thomas Newman (b. 1955) and Patrick Doyle (b. 1953). Collectively, this music has won three Academy Awards®, received ten additional Oscar® nominations and won ten Grammys®.

“Music, to me, is one of the most important things to give a movie emotion,” John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, told Variety during a Hollywood recording session recently. “Lighting, color, and music are all things I use as a storyteller. I’m in absolute awe of the talent of these musicians... the fact that they have never seen this music before and yet play it perfectly, with feeling and interpretation.”

Toy Story (1995) was the first of the Pixar feature films. Its clever story of a child’s playthings, including the rivalry of cowboy doll Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks) and astronaut action figure Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Tim Allen), was embraced by young and old alike. It became the year’s top-grossing film and won a Special Achievement Oscar® as the first feature-length computer-animated film. Its lively orchestral score and three original songs – including “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” now a standard – were composed by Randy Newman, the Los Angeles-born pop songwriter and respected film composer (whose earlier films included Ragtime, The Natural and Parenthood).

Randy Newman returned to score A Bug’s Life (1998), the story of an ant inventor named Flik (Dave Foley) who recruits a troupe of bug circus performers to help rid the ant colony of its grasshopper oppressors. Newman’s score employed a variety of styles from mock-heroic to Gershwinesque big-city jazz and remains among the composer's most delightful scores.

Pixar's third feature, Toy Story 2 (1999), found Woody declared a valuable collectible and stolen for eventual sale. The toys’ saga gains additional depth with the introduction of yodeling cowgirl Jessie and Buzz’s intergalactic enemy Emperor Zurg, prompting Randy Newman to add Coplandesque roundup music and John Williams-style space-opera sounds to his score. The Oscar-nominated® song “When She Loved Me” remains among the most poignant of all the Pixar tunes.

Monsters, Inc. (2001) was another big box-office hit, the story of a parallel universe where a monster world is powered by the screams of children. Monster pals Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sulley (John Goodman) discover a little girl has accidentally infiltrated their workplace and must hide her from the authorities. Randy Newman added a strong jazz element to his fourth consecutive Pixar score, and won his first Academy Award® for the film’s song “If I Didn’t Have You.”

Finding Nemo (2003) takes place mostly underwater, with its story of clownfish Marlin (Albert Brooks), on a search across the ocean for his son, Nemo, and regal tang Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), who suffers from short-term memory loss.  Director Andrew Stanton said that he wrote the entire script while listening to the music of Thomas Newman (composer of The Shawshank Redemption, Little Women and American Beauty, and Randy's cousin) and so decided to hire the younger Newman for the Finding Nemo score, which adds synthesizer textures and exotic instruments to the traditional symphony orchestra.

Finding Nemo became the first Pixar film to win the new Oscar® category of Animated Feature Film; the second was The Incredibles (2004), a comedy about a family of superheroes who must conceal their powers from the public (Craig T. Nelson and Holly Hunter are the voices of the adult heroes). Michael Giacchino, composer of the Medal of Honor series of videogames and the TV series Alias and Lost, scored the film with a lively pastiche of 1960s spy and caper music; he has cited such influences as John Barry, Henry Mancini and Hanna-Barbera cartoon composer Hoyt Curtin.

Cars (2006), the seventh Pixar feature, was inspired by the sights and sounds of the American West’s Route 66. This time the characters were all motor vehicles, including racecar Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) and former racer Doc Hudson (Paul Newman), stuck in the forgotten town of Radiator Springs. For music, Lasseter returned to Randy Newman, an especially apt choice given Newman’s well-known grasp of the Americana idiom in film scores, both the orchestral and the more folk- and country-based, guitar-and-banjo traditions.

Ratatouille (2007) offered the most outrageous storyline yet: a French rat named Remy who wants, more than anything, to become a chef. Remy (voiced by Patton Oswalt) eventually becomes the secret weapon of Linguini (Lou Romano), heir to a top Paris restaurant frequented by feared food critic Anton Ego (Peter O'Toole). Director Brad Bird, as he had on The Incredibles, turned to Giacchino for a lighthearted score filled with waltzes and flavored with such classic French colors as accordion and musette.

“This simple little robot love story” is how director Andrew Stanton described WALL•E (2008), an ecology-minded science-fiction tale about a future, garbage-strewn Earth, the sole robot (WALL•E) left to clean it up, and the streamlined, vegetation-seeking robot (named EVE) who visits; soon they are in space on an adventure that will change mankind’s destiny. Stanton again called on Thomas Newman, who invested the quirky robots with charm and warmth, and the outer-space scenes with appropriate large-orchestra drama.

Although six of the previous Pixar films had been Oscar-nominated® for Best Original Score, Up (2009) became the first to take home the Academy Award® for its composer. For this touching story of an old man (voiced by Ed Asner) whose balloon-borne house travels to South America with an 8-year-old in tow, Michael Giacchino supplied his most personal and emotional score – particularly for the “Married Life” sequence, a constantly evolving waltz for a four-minute condensation of Carl and his wife Ellie’s life together.

Toy Story 3 (2010) continued Woody and Buzz Lightyear’s adventures  with a surprising, thrilling and heartfelt story about their owner Andy growing up, leaving home, and finding new homes for his beloved toys. For his sixth Pixar score, composer Randy Newman once again rose to the challenge, writing music that both propelled the action and lent human qualities to the characters. Touches of classical music, jazz, and country can be heard, along with Newman’s most hair-raising music for the toys’ near-death experience at a dump and perhaps the most moving finale ever for a Pixar film. Toy Story 3 became the year's highest-grossing film in the U.S.; made more than $1 billion worldwide; and won Newman a second Oscar® for his song “We Belong Together.”

Cars 2 (2011) takes Radiator Springs residents Lightning McQueen and his tow-truck pal Mater to Japan, Italy and England on a spy caper (with the voice of Michael Caine as master spy Finn McMissile). For music, Lasseter once again called on Michael Giacchino, whose score creatively combines elements of 1960s British spy-movie music and surf rock.

Pixar's latest success is Brave (2012), which departs from tradition in several ways: it’s the first to feature a female protagonist; and it takes place entirely in the past, on foreign soil (ancient Scotland), with mythical overtones. Brave concerns a young Scottish princess named Merida (voice of Kelly Macdonald), who defies her parents by refusing an arranged marriage and foolishly asking a witch to help solve her problems. Scottish-born composer Patrick Doyle – Oscar-nominated® for Sense and Sensibility, perhaps best-known for his scores for Kenneth Branagh's Shakespeare films Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing and Hamlet – supplied a colorful and authentic-sounding musical backdrop that includes such ethnic sounds as Celtic fiddle, Celtic harp and whistles, Uilleann pipes and bagpipes.

— Jon Burlingame

Jon Burlingame writes about film music for Variety and teaches film-music history at the University of Southern California.


Joey Newman (ASCAP) is a third generation film composer of the famed Hollywood musical Newman dynasty. A drummer, conductor and orchestrator, he earned his degree from the Berklee College of Music. He got his start working in television, co-composing with Emmy®-winning composer W.G. “Snuffy” Walden. For five years, Joey composed the orchestral score to NCsoft’s Lineage, one of the biggest online role-playing games in history. As a conductor and orchestrator, Joey has worked across the media spectrum including orchestrating for his cousin Randy and conducting alongside Michael Tilson Thomas and John Williams.

Joey’s music can currently be heard on the hit ABC comedy The Middle, starring Patricia Heaton, and TLC’s docu-reality series, Little People, Big World, for which his underscore was nominated for a Primetime Emmy® Award. Recent film credits include the 9/11-inspired drama The Space Between (starring Oscar® winner Melissa Leo); the comedy My Uncle Rafael (starring Missi Pyle and John Michael Higgins); the 2013 Oscar®-nominated animated short film Adam and Dog and the multiple award-winning 2012 drama Any Day Now (starring Alan Cumming).

August 18, 2013

Online sales for this performance have now been discontinued. Please call the Ticket Office at 619.235.0804.

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