Houston Symphony Welcomes Pink Martini to Jones Hall, Now thru 5/26

Houston Symphony Welcomes Pink Martini to Jones Hall, Now thru 5/26

Tonight, May 24 and May 25 & 26, the Houston Symphony welcomes audiences of all ages and musical backgrounds to an exciting performance with the eclectic "little orchestra," Pink Martini. Led by Principal Pops Conductor Michael Krajewski, Pink Martini will delight audiences with their jazz-infused world music and energetic stage antics. This performance marks Pink Martini's 3rd performance in Houston since their debut with the Symphony in May 2008.

Performing unique takes on familiar classical melodies from the likes of Offenbach, Paganini and Gershwin, the group will excite listeners with their innovative musicality. In this visit to Jones Hall, Pink Martini will feature frequent guest performer and former band member, Ari Shapiro, who currently works as NPR's White House correspondent, as well as Houston Symphony Concertmaster Frank Huang. Vocal sensations, The Von Trapps, will perform with Pink Martini and the Symphony in a thrilling musical collaboration. The Von Trapps are the great-grandchildren of the Captain and Maria von Trapp, whose stories were made famous in the film, "The Sound of Music."

Houston Symphony Cynthia Woods Mitchell POPS at Jones Hall Series takes place at 615 Louisiana St., Houston, TX. Pink Martini will perform tonight, May 24, 2013, 8:00pm, Saturday, May 25, 2013, 8:00pm and Sunday, May 26, 2013, 7:30pm, with Michael Krajewski, conductor and The Von Trapps, vocalists. Tickets from: $25

About Michael Krajewski: Known for his entertaining programs and wry sense of humor, Michael Krajewski is a much sought after conductor of symphonic pops concerts. Now in his 13th season in Houston, he joined the Houston Symphony as Principal Pops Conductor at the beginning of the 2000-01 season and holds the same position with the Jacksonville Symphony and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Krajewski was named Music Director of the The Philly POPS in November 2012.

Much in demand as a guest conductor with orchestras across the country, Krajewski has performed with the Boston Pops and the Hollywood Bowl orchestras and has collaborated with an eclectic group of artists including flutist James Galway, mezzo soprano Marilyn Horne, pop artists Roberta Flack, Judy Collins, Art Garfunkel, Doc Severinsen, Al Hirt, Cab Calloway, Mary Wilson, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Pink Martini and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.

With degrees from Wayne State University in Detroit and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Michael furthered his training at the Pierre Monteux Domaine School for Conductors. He was a Dorati Fellowship Conductor with the Detroit Symphony and later served as that orchestra's assistant conductor. He was resident conductor of the Florida Symphony and for eleven years served as music director of the Modesto Symphony Orchestra.

About Pink Martini: In 1994, in his hometown of Portland, Oregon, Thomas Lauderdale was working in poli­tics, thinking that one day he would run for mayor. Like other eager politicians-in-training, he went to every political fund­raiser...but was dismayed to find the music at these events under­whelming, lackluster, loud and un-neighborly. Drawing inspi­ration from music from all over the world, crossing genres of classical, jazz and old-fashioned pops, and hoping to appeal to conservatives and liberals alike, he founded the "little orchestra" Pink Martini. He wanted to pro­vide more beautiful and inclusive musi­cal soundtracks for political fundraisers for causes such as civil rights, affordable housing, the environment, libraries, public broadcasting, education and parks.

One year later, Lauderdale called China Forbes, a Harvard classmate, and asked her to join Pink Martini. They began to write songs together. Their first song "Sympathique" became an overnight sen­sation in France, was nominated for Song of the Year at France's Victoires de la Musique Awards, and to this day remains a mantra ("Je ne veux pas travailler" or "I don't want to work") for striking French workers.

"We're very much an American band, but we spend a lot of time abroad and therefore have the incredible diplomatic opportunity to rep­resent a broader, more inclusive America. . .the America which remains the most heterogeneously populated country in the world...composed of people of every coun­try, every language, every religion," said Lauderdale.

Featuring 10-12 musicians, Pink Martini performs its multilingual reper­toire on concert stages and with symphony orchestras around the world. Its debut album Sympathique was released in 1997 on the band's own label Heinz Records (named after Lauderdale's dog), and quickly became an international phenom­enon, garnering the group nominations for Song of the Year and Best New Artist in France's Victoires de la Musique Awards in 2000. Several recordings have followed: Hang on Little Tomato,Hey Eugene!, Splendor In The Grass, Joy To The World, A Retrospective (a collection of the band's most beloved songs spanning 18 years) and 1969 (an album of collaborations with legendary Japanese singer Saori Yuki).

About The Von Trapps: There is probably not another last name known around the world that is as universally beloved as Von Trapp. The story of the family who escaped Austria, moved to the United States and toured the world singing for two decades continues to inspire people of all ages since the film "The Sound of Music" was released in 1964.

Although the Trapp Family Singers performed their farewell concert in 1957, forty years later, the great-grandchildren of the Captain and Maria von Trapp -- sisters Sofia, Melanie, Amanda and brother Justin von Trapp -- began to sing together in an effort to comfort their ailing grandfather who was portrayed as Kurt, the youngest boy of the seven von Trapp children. Since then, now known as the Von Trapps, they have performed around the world -- including Europe, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, Korean and The Philippines -- to packed houses. The Von Trapps have toured North America extensively and have appeared with numerous symphony orchestras, including the Boston Pops, as well as the orchestras of Atlanta, Detroit, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Toronto. They have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show (NBC), The View (ABC), Fox and Friends (Fox News), Good Morning America (ABC), The Grand Ole Opry (GAC), CCTV and numerous television shows abroad. They have released six albums, and are currently working on a new album with Pink Martini.

During the 2013-14 Season, the Houston Symphony will be in its 100th year as one of America's leading orchestras with a full complement of concert, community, education, touring and recording activities. The Houston Symphony is one of the oldest performing arts organizations in Texas whose inaugural performance was held at The Majestic Theater in downtown Houston on June 21, 1913. Today, with an annual operating budget of $28.7 million, the full-time ensemble of 87 professional musicians is the largest performing arts organization in Houston, presenting more than 280 concerts for 280,000 people, including 84,000 children, annually. For tickets and more information, visit www.houstonsymphony.org or call 713-224-7575.

Photo Credit: Autumn de Wilde