AN APPALACHIAN SUMMER FESTIVAL
Music - Dance - Theatre - Visual Arts - Film
Featuring a dozen musicians, Pink Martini performs a stylish and sophisticated blend of jazz, classical, and old-fashioned pop on concert stages around the world. Thomas Lauderdale founded Pink Martini in 1994 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. Twenty years later, Pink Martini continues to tour the world, singing in 22 languages and bringing together unique melodies and rhythms to create an eclectic and modern sound. In 2014, Pink Martini was inducted into both the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame and the Oregon Music Hall of Fame.
“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.” – Thomas Lauderdale, bandleader/pianist
"This is rich, hugely approachable music, utterly cosmopolitan yet utterly unpretentious. And it seems to speak to just about everybody…from grade-schoolers to grandmothers to the young and hip and beautiful.” –The Washington Post
"One of the world’s most elegant live bands.” –The Times (UK)
Pink Martini with Storm Large -- Amado Mio
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 under the sun… 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 pop – and hoping to appeal to conservatives and liberals alike, he founded the “little orchestra” Pink Martini in 1994 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 who was living in New York City, 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. Says Lauderdale, “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.”
Featuring a dozen musicians, Pink Martini performs its multilingual repertoire on concert stages and with symphony orchestras throughout Europe, Asia, Greece, Turkey, the Middle East, Northern Africa, Australia, New Zealand, South America and North America. Pink Martini made its European debut at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997 and its orchestral debut with the Oregon Symphony in 1998 under the direction of Norman Leyden. Since then, the band has gone on to play with more than 50 orchestras around the world, including multiple engagements with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, the Boston Pops, the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center, the San Francisco Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the BBC Concert Orchestra at Royal Albert Hall in London. Other appearances include the grand opening of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, with return sold-out engagements for New Year’s Eve 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2011; four sold-out concerts at Carnegie Hall; the opening party of the remodeled Museum of Modern Art in New York City; the Governor’s Ball at the 80th Annual Academy Awards in 2008; the opening of the 2008 Sydney Festival in Australia; multiple sold-out appearances, and a festival opening, at the Montreal Jazz Festival, two sold-out concerts at Paris’ legendary L’Olympia Theatre in 2011; and Paris’ fashion house Lanvin’s 10-year anniversary celebration for designer Alber Elbaz in 2012. In its twentieth year, Pink Martini was inducted into both the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame and the Oregon Music Hall of Fame.
Pink Martini’s debut album Sympathique was released independently 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. Pink Martini released Hang On Little Tomato in 2004, Hey Eugene! in 2007 and Splendor In The Grass in 2009. In November 2010 the band released Joy To The World—a festive, multi-denominational holiday album featuring songs from around the globe. Joy To The World received glowing reviews and was carried in Starbucks stores during the 2010 and 2011 holiday seasons. All five albums have gone gold in France, Canada, Greece and Turkey.
In Fall 2011 the band released two albums – A Retrospective, a collection of the band’s most beloved songs spanning their 18-year career, which includes eight previously unreleased tracks, and 1969, an album of collaborations with legendary Japanese singer Saori Yuki. 1969 has been certified platinum in Japan, reaching #2 on the Japanese charts, with the Japan Times raving “the love and respect Saori Yuki and Pink Martini have for the pop tradition shines through on every track.” The release of 1969 marked the first time a Japanese artist hit the American Billboard charts since Kyu Sakamoto released “Sukiyaki” in 1963. Pink Martini albums have sold over 3 million copies worldwide.
Pink Martini with Storm Large -- Quizas, quizas, quizas
The band has collaborated and performed with numerous artists, including Jimmy Scott, Carol Channing, Jane Powell, Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright, Henri Salvador, Chavela Vargas, New York performer Joey Arias, puppeteer Basil Twist, Georges Moustaki, Michael Feinstein, filmmaker Gus Van Sant, Courtney Taylor Taylor of The Dandy Warhols, clarinetist and conductor Norman Leyden, Japanese legend Hiroshi Wada, Italian actress and songwriter Alba Clemente, DJ Johnny Dynell and Chi Chi Valenti, Faith Prince, Mamie Van Doren, the original cast of Sesame Street, the Bonita Vista High School Marching Band of Chula Vista, California, the Portland Youth Philharmonic, and the Pacific Youth Choir of Portland, Oregon. Singer Storm Large began performing with Pink Martini in March 2011, when China Forbes took a leave of absence to undergo surgery on her vocal cords. Forbes made full recovery and now both she and Large continue performing with Pink Martini.
Pink Martini has an illustrious roster of regular guest artists: NPR’s Ari Shapiro, who was just named host of All Things Considered, Cantor Ida Rae Cahana (who was cantor at the Central Synagogue in NYC for five years), koto player Masumi Timson, harpist Maureen Love, and Kim Hastreiter (the publisher/editor-in-chief of Paper magazine).
In January 2012 bandleader Thomas Lauderdale began work on Pink Martini’s seventh studio album when he recorded the Charlie Chaplin song “Smile” with the legendary Phyllis Diller. The album, titled Get Happy, was released on September 24, 2013 and features 16 globe-spanning songs in nine languages. The band’s beloved vocalist China Forbes anchors the recording, and she is joined by her new co-lead singer Storm Large, recording with Pink Martini for the first time, along with a cavalcade of special guests including Rufus Wainwright, Philippe Katerine, Meow Meow, The von Trapps & Ari Shapiro.
And while still in the studio for Get Happy, Lauderdale simultaneously began work on the band’s eighth studio album, Dream a Little Dream, featuring Sofia, Melanie, Amanda and August von Trapp, the actual great-grandchildren of Captain and Maria von Trapp, made famous by the movie The Sound of Music. These siblings have been singing together for 12 years and have toured all over the world in concert. Drawn into the magical orbit of Thomas Lauderdale, they now live together in a house in Portland, Oregon and have been frequent guest performers with Pink Martini for the past two years. The album, released in March 2014, traverses the world, from Sweden to Rwanda to China to Bavaria, and features guest appearances by The Chieftains, Wayne Newton, “Jungle” Jack Hanna, and Charmian Carr (who played Liesl in the original Sound of Music).
Pink Martini with Storm Large – Brazil
Thomas Lauderdale was raised in rural Indiana and began piano lessons at age six. When his family moved to Portland in 1982, he began studying with Sylvia Killman, who remains his coach and mentor today. At the age of 14, he made his first appearance with the Oregon Symphony under the direction of Norman Leyden.
Active in Oregon politics since he was student body president at Grant High School, Thomas served under Portland Mayor Bud Clark and Oregon Governor Neil Goldschmidt. In 1991, he worked under Portland City Commissioner Gretchen Kafoury on the drafting and passage of the city’s civil rights ordinance. He graduated with honors from Harvard with a degree in History and Literature in 1992. He spent most of his collegiate years, however, in cocktail dresses, taking on the role of “cruise director,” throwing waltzes with live orchestras and ice sculptures, disco masquerades, and operating a Tuesday night coffeehouse called Café Mardi.
Instead of running for political office, Lauderdale founded Pink Martini in 1994 to play political fundraisers for progressive causes such as civil rights, the environment and affordable housing.
Now in its 21st year, Pink Martini and Lauderdale are Oregon’s “musical ambassadors to the world,” performing a multilingual repertoire on concert stages from Carnegie Hall to the Hollywood Bowl to Royal Albert Hall, and with more than 50 symphony orchestras throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the Americas. The band has released nine albums on its own label Heinz Records, most recently "Dream a Little Dream," a collaboration with The von Trapps.
Lauderdale currently serves on the boards of the Oregon Symphony and Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland, Oregon.
Storm Large: musician, actor, playwright, author, awesome. She shot to national prominence in 2006 as a finalist on the CBS show Rock Star: Supernova, where despite having been eliminated in the week before the finale, Storm built a fan base that follows her around the world to this day.
Storm spent the 90s singing in clubs throughout San Francisco. Tired of the club scene, she moved to Portland to pursue a new career as a chef, but a last minute cancellation in 2002 at the Portland club “Dante’s” turned into a standing Wednesday night engagement for Storm and her new band, The Balls. It wasn’t long before Storm had a cult-like following in Portland, and a renewed singing career that was about to be launched onto the international stage.
Storm made her debut with the band Pink Martini in April 2011, singing four sold-out concerts with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. She continues to perform with the band, touring nationally and internationally, and she was featured on their CD, Get Happy. Storm has also sung with Grammy winner k.d. lang, pianist Kirill Gerstein, punk rocker John Doe, singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright, and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer George Clinton.
She debuted with the Oregon Symphony in 2010, and has returned for sold out performances each year thereafter. Storm made her Carnegie Hall debut in May 2013, singing Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins with the Detroit Symphony as part of the Spring for Music festival. The NY Times called her “sensational,” and the classical music world instantly had a new star.
In 2007, she took a career departure and starred in Portland Center Stage’s production of Cabaret with Wade McCollum. The show was a smash hit, earning Large glowing reviews. Her next endeavor, the autobiographical musical memoir, Crazy Enough, played to packed houses in 2009 during its unprecedented 21-week sold out run in Portland. Storm went on to perform a cabaret version of the show to critical acclaim at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Adelaide Festival in Australia, and Joe’s Pub in New York. Her memoir, Crazy Enough, was released by Simon and Schuster in 2012, named Oprah’s Book of the Week, and awarded the 2013 Oregon Book Award for Creative Nonfiction.
Storm is featured in Rid of Me, a film by Portlander James Westby, starring Katie O’Grady and Theresa Russell. In November and December of 2010, she starred at the Mark Taper Forum with Katey Sagal and Michael McKean in Jerry Zak’s production of Harps and Angels, a musical featuring the work of Randy Newman.
In the 2013/14 season Storm and her band, Le Bonheur performed in many new cities around the country, including Las Vegas, Boston, Minneapolis in a evening called “Taken By Storm” In June 2014, she appeared at the Ojai Festival with the exciting new orchestra, The Knights and the vocal ensemble Hudson Shad. Later in the summer she debuts at the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago.
In the Fall of 2014, Storm & Le Bonheur released a record designed to capture their sublime and subversive interpretations of the American Songbook. Entitled simply, Le Bonheur and released on Pink Martini’s, Heinz Records, the recording is a collection of tortured and titillating love songs; beautiful, familiar, yet twisted…much like the lady herself. Storm also makes her debut with The New York Pops Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, The Cincinnati Symphony, The Houston Symphony and The RTE Concert Orchestra in Dublin amongst others. Storm is also busy creating a new musical with The Public Theater in New York City.
When he is not touring with Pink Martini, Ari anchors NPR’s flagship evening news program, All Things Considered. He joined the program in September 2015 after living abroad as NPR’s international correspondent in London. He has reported from above the Arctic Circle and aboard Air Force One; he has covered wars in Iraq, Ukraine, and Israel; and he has filed stories from five continents (sorry, Australia). Before moving to London, Ari spent four years as White House Correspondent for NPR, covering the Obama Administration. In 2012, he embedded with the Presidential campaign of Republican Mitt Romney. He was NPR’s Justice Correspondent for five years during the George W. Bush Administration, covering one of the most tumultuous periods in the Department’s history. As a high school kid in Portland, Oregon, Ari was a Pink Martini fan before the band ever released an album. In the 1990s, he would often sneak into small clubs to watch their earliest shows. His singing debut with Pink Martini was at the Hollywood Bowl in 2009, before an audience of 18,000 people. Since then, he has regularly joined the band in concerts around the world. He has also recorded songs on the Pink Martini albums Splendor in the Grass, Joy to the World, and Get Happy.