January 23, 2014

t's indeed a happy new year when the awesome genre-crossing Big Band sound of Pink Martini performs with Pacific Symphony for the first Pops concert of 2014! With eclectic flavors from around the world and classic spunk, Pink Martini really is the perfect concoction. The energetic and enthusiastic "little orchestra" finds its musical inspiration from cultures around the world, easily jumping from genres like pop, jazz and classical to establish its own unique blend of music.

Formed in Portland, Ore., the 12-member ensemble has been a popular favorite in many countries for more than a decade with its revitalization of vintage Big Band sound, in combination with 1940s jazz, cross-cultural rhythms and much more! The group is known for songs that range from "Je ne veux pas travailler (I don't want to work)," the Doris Day hit "Que Sera, Sera," "Lets Never Stop Falling in Love" and "Hey, Eugene!"

Performing for the first time with the Symphony in 2010, Pink Martini returns with a new lead singer, Storm Large, led by guest conductor, Albert-George Schram. Special guests The von Trapp Family, who are currently working on a collaborative album with Pink Martini, also join the fun. The concert takes place Thursday-Saturday, today, Jan. 23-25, at 8 p.m, in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Tickets are $45-$195; for more information or to purchase tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or visit

Band leader Thomas Lauderdale says: "Pink Martini is a rollicking around-the-world musical adventure...if the United Nations had a house band in 1962, hopefully we'd be that band."

The formation of Pink Martini can be attributed to dull political fundraisers, at which Lauderdale was a frequent guest due to his politcal aspirations. As a musically inclined individual, he noticed a lack of musical talent at these functions and sought a solution: Pink Martini! Lauderdale asked a fellow Harvard classmate, China Forbes, to join Pink Martini and they began playing gigs in Oregon. Their originality and diversity had caused them to grow quickly in popularity and today Pink Martini travels all over the world performing with symphony orchestras. As if their assemblage was meant to be, the ensemble's first song "Sympathetique" was an instant hit in France and was nominated for "Song of the Year" at France's Victoires de la Musique Awards. On an interesting note, the lyrics "Je ne veux pas travailler" or "I don't want to work" from the hit song, still remains a chant for striking French workers today.

"Americans don't really sing together anymore...except for church...or maybe the shower," says Lauderdale. "For me, Pink Martini is partially an attempt to rebuild a culture which sings and dances. The overarching goal is to create a cohesive body of beautiful songs with beautiful melodies-and then it all just extends outward from there."

The group released their latest album "Get Happy" in September 2013, which features a parade of vocal royalty, including the exotic cabaret sensation Meow Meow, Philippe Katerine, Ari Shapiro and The von Trapps featuring Rufus Wainwright! Held together by the beloved and elegant voice of China Forbes, along with the dazzling co-lead singer Storm Large, who made her recording debut with them, the album features 16 songs selected and arranged by Lauderdale, and includes songs in German, French, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Farsi, Turkish and Romanian.

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