What Composer Toby Chu Listened to While Scoring Pixar's Bao

By 
Bryan Parys
September 6, 2018

From traditional Chinese music to tracks from the film Kung Fu Hustle, Chu shares songs that influenced his scoring process for Bao.

Film artwork for Pixar's Bao

To help bring Eastern instruments into a Western orchestra setting for the score to Pixar's animated short Bao, film composer Toby Chu B.M. '99 immersed himself in traditional and contemporary Eastern music. The film tells the story of a Chinese immigrant family living in the West, an experience Chu understands on a deeply personal level, given his upbringing as the son of Chinese immigrants in Washington, D.C.

Chu says, “Not only have I never worked on a project that was so close to my own upbringing, I haven’t heard of composers that worked on a project that was this close.” Given the rare chance to meld his own journey with his career, it was vital for Chu to use elements of Chinese music within the score. To get it right, he researched traditional Eastern music and instruments, learning about their storied histories and musical eccentricities in order to blend them with Western orchestral conventions.

In this playlist, he shares tracks he turned to for inspiration while working on Bao.

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