NPR's Ari Shapiro Performs at BSO Gala Tonight
Signaling the start of the social season, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) will hold its annual Gala Concert tonight, September 7 at 8:30 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. This year's Gala will be led by BSO Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly. The concert features the band Pink Martini with vocalist Storm Large, who will collaborate with the BSO for an intoxicating mix of cabaret, samba, jazz and Hollywood musicals. National Public Radio's news correspondent Ari Shapiro, a frequent guest vocalist with Pink Martini, will perform.
Described as a hip "little orchestra" with a multicultural sound, Pink Martini has performed with orchestras around the world as well as in venues that include Carnegie Hall and Paris' legendary L'Olympia Theater. Pink Martini draws inspiration from around the world, which explains its multilingual repertoire and diverse audience. This inclusive musical style fits perfectly with the BSO's mission to serve the region's entire community.
The BSO Celebration Gala is chaired by longtime BSO supporters Ava Lias-Booker, Beth Goldsmith, and Lainy LeBow-Sachs and is the organization's largest and most important fundraising event of the year. It raises funds to support the Orchestra's educational outreach programs in Baltimore and throughout Maryland. The Celebration Gala offers an evening of entertainment and fine dining provided by Classic Catering. Pre- and post-concert gala festivities will take place in an event tent located just outside of the Meyerhoff.
Jack Everly, conductor: Jack Everly is the Principal Pops Conductor of the Baltimore and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestras, Naples Philharmonic Orchestra and National Arts Centre Orchestra (Ottawa), and the Music Director of the National Memorial Day Concert and A Capitol Fourth on PBS.
Mr. Everly is the Music Director of Yuletide Celebration, now a 26?year tradition. These theatrical symphonic holiday concerts are presented annually in December in Indianapolis and are seen by more than 40,000 concert?goers.
Originally appointed by Mikhail Baryshnikov, Mr. Everly was conductor of the American Ballet Theatre for 14 years, where he served as music director. Mr. Everly has teamed with Marvin Hamlisch in Broadway shows including The Goodbye Girl, They're Playing Our Song, and A Chorus Line. He conducted Carol Channing hundreds of times in Hello, Dolly! in two separate Broadway productions.
Mr. Everly has conducted the songs for Disney's animated classic, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and led the Czech Philharmonic on the recordings In the Presence and Sandi Patty's 2011 release, Broadway Stories. He also conducted the critically praised Everything's Coming Up Roses: The Complete Overtures of Broadway's Jule Styne.
In 1998, Jack Everly created the Symphonic Pops Consortium, serving as music director. The Consortium, based in Indianapolis, produces a new theatrical pops program each season. In the past 12 years, more than 225 performances of SPC programs have taken place across the U.S. and Canada.
Maestro Everly holds an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from Franklin College in his home state of Indiana. When not on the podium or arranging, Maestro Everly indulges in his love for films, Haagen-Dazs, and a pooch named Max.
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 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 dela 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 10-12 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, 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; two 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; 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.
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, multidenominational 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, and have sold well over 2.5 million copies worldwide.
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. 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 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 White House correspondent Ari Shapiro, 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 publish/editor-in-chief of Paper Magazine). Most recently, the four great-grandchildren of Maria and Georg Von Trapp appeared with Pink Martini and are currently working on a joint album project with the band.
In January 2012, bandleader Thomas Lauderdale recorded the Charlie Chaplin song "Smile" with the 94- year-old legendary Phyllis Diller; this song will be released on a future Pink Martini album, tentatively titled "Get Happy."
Ari Shapiro, vocalist: When not covering breaking news as National Public Radio's White House correspondent (since 2010) and now as the network's new London correspondent, Shapiro moonlights as a singer with the "little orchestra" Pink Martini. With Pink Martini, he has performed at many of the world's most storied venues, including the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, Carnegie Hall in New York, L'Olympia in Paris, and Mount Lycabettus in Athens. Shapiro is featured on Pink Martini's latest album, Get Happy, scheduled for release in September 2013.
As a news correspondent, Shapiro has reported for NPR since 2003, first in Miami, Boston and Atlanta, and for the next five years as a justice correspondent covering national security and counterterrorism. Since 2010 he's been at the White House, and spent 2012 on the campaign trail to lead NPR's coverage of Mitt Romney's candidacy. He also travels widely overseas in his reporting, including visits to Afghanistan and most recently Africa with President Barack Obama, and to Iraq with Attorney General Michael Mukasey. He has been a guest host for Morning Edition and Weekend Edition, and regularly appears on CNN, MSNBC and PBS. In his most recent appointment as London correspondent, Shapiro will cover the great range of stories in Britain and all of Europe: from the economy and politics, to culture, music and the royals. He will also contribute to NPR's coverage and breaking news from the Middle East and North Africa.
The Gala Concert will be held on Saturday, September 7, 2013 at 8:30 p.m.--Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (JMSH). Repertoire will be announced at a later date. Tickets for the Gala Concert are available from $40 at 410.783.8000 or at BSOmusic.org. The Celebration Gala is a black-tie event.
6:30 p.m.: Gala Celebration, with dining and entertainment--Gala Tent
7:30 p.m.: Doors open for Gala Concert--Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (JMSH)
8:30 p.m.: Gala Concert featuring Pink Martini--JMSH
9:45 p.m.: VIP Post-concert party and desserts with BSO Artists--Gala Tent
For tickets to the Celebration Gala, contact the BSO Members Hotline at 410.783.8124 or Megan Beck at 410.783.8035.
Pictured: Ari Shapiro with Storm Large, photo courtesy BSO.