15-time Oscar nominee Thomas Newman discusses scoring first ever ballet at Lyric Opera House

His music gave an innocent man his freedom.

It gave a secret agent his license to kill.

It helped one father find his son, and another father find closure.

Thomas Newman is a 15-time Oscar nominee, widely considered to be one of the greatest movie composers of all time.

From Best Picture winners, to Bond films to Pixar to television — his work has elevated every facet of pop culture with his signature sound.

And now that sound is coming to the Joffrey Ballet at the Lyric Opera House — as Newman is scoring his first ever ballet, a stage adaptation of John Steinbeck’s seminal novel ‘Of Mice and Men.’

Newman has 267 different titles to his credits — over 40 years of work — but one of his very first jobs, when he was just 28 years old, is the uncredited role of music orchestrator on a little film called "Star Wars: Return of the Jedi"

While bringing the words of John Steinbeck alive through music is no easy feat, there’s another author Newman has mastered at turning prose into musical poetry: Stephen King.


And it’s poetic that we sit in Chicago together for this interview — because 20 years ago, Newman wrote the score for one of the most beautiful Chicago films ever made: ‘Road to Perdition."

Whether it’s Bond, Pixar, television or trying his hand at his first ever ballet, Thomas Newman’s music is a signature, a mark of quality — a story where there is never a false note.