BIO: 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.??“All of us in Pink Martini have studied different languages as well as different styles of music from different parts of the world,” says Lauderdale. “So inevitably, our repertoire is wildly diverse. At one moment, you feel like you’re in the middle of a samba parade in Rio de Janeiro, and in the next moment, you’re in a French music hall of the 1930s or a palazzo in Napoli. It’s a bit like an urban musical travelogue. 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 and 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, 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, 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 17-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 band has collaborated and performed with numerous artists, such as Jimmy Scott, Carol Channing, Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright, Jane Powell, 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, the original cast of Sesame Street, the Bonita Vista High School Marching Band from 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 chords. Forbes made full recovery and both she and Large continue to perform 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.”
Portland Duo Wonderly Steps Out From Behind The Curtains For New Release STORY WE TELL VOLUME 1
by BWW News Desk - November 17, 2020
What if longtime friends Jim Brunberg and Ben Landsverk came clean about the fact that their bevy of instrumental theme songs and film soundtracks-including the New York Times' famed podcast The Daily, Cheryl Strayed's Dear Sugar Radio, and many indie film scores-were only half of the story?...
Pink Martini Shares New Single 'The Lemonade Song'
by BWW News Desk - August 21, 2020
Portland favorites Pink Martini have shared their second new single of the summer. 'The Lemonade Song' is released today via their own label Heinz Records. ...
Pink Martini Share New Single 'The Lemonade Song'
by BWW News Desk - August 21, 2020
Portland favorites Pink Martini have shared their second new single of the summer....
Stern Grove Festival Announces Cancelation of 2020 Festival
by TV News Desk - May 14, 2020
Stern Grove Festival Executive Director Bob Fiedler announced today the cancellation of the 83rd Stern Grove Festival due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the continued moratorium on large gatherings....
Pink Martini's Thomas Lauderdale and Meow Meow Release New Music Video for 'I Lost Myself'
by TV News Desk - August 22, 2019
Thomas Lauderdale, the founder and bandleader of beloved Portland, Oregon-based little orchestra Pink Martini and a?oepost-modern chanteusea?? (The Boston Globe) Meow Meow have joined forces for Hotel Amour, out now. LA Weekly describes the record as a?oeevocativea?? and a?oeromantica?? while The Su...
George Clinton, Jeff Goldblum Headline Blue Note Hawaii in April
by TV News Desk - March 29, 2019
April is filled with huge names at Blue Note Hawaii, bringing some of entertainment's most recognizable artists to Hawaii's premier live music venue. The month kicks off with the best and brightest of the local music scene, including Henry Kapono's Artist 2 Artist Series featuring Amy Hānaiali'i, si...
Meow Meow & Thomas Lauderdale of Pink Martini's Joint Album HOTEL AMOUR Out March 22
by BWW News Desk - February 14, 2019
Thomas Lauderdale, the founder and bandleader of beloved Portland, Oregon-based little orchestra Pink Martini and “post-modern chanteuse” (The Boston Globe) Meow Meow have joined forces for Hotel Amour, their highly anticipated joint album due March 22 via Heinz Records. The title track is now avail...
Rock 'N Roll Renaissance Woman Storm Large Gets 'Crazy' With The Philly POPS
by BWW News Desk - October 22, 2018
A whole lotta love comes to Philadelphia as The Philly POPS presents “Storm Large: A Crazy Kind of Love” November 9, 10 and 11. ...
Pink Martini Bring Smooth Jazz and More to the Capitol Center on 10/14
by BWW News Desk - September 07, 2018
Pink Martini will appear at the Capitol Center for the Arts (Concord, NH) on Sunday, October 14, 2018 at 7:30PM. Featuring a dozen musicians, Pink Martini performs a multilingual repertoire in more than 25 languages on concert stages and with symphony orchestras throughout Europe, Asia, Greece, Turk...
Pink Martini's Releases New Single I AM WOMAN Today, July 13
by TV News Desk - July 13, 2018
Beloved Portland, Oregon-based “little orchestra” Pink Martini's new song, “I Am Woman,” premieres today—listen/share the track here: https://spoti.fi/2Lf6KXe.“I Am Woman”—Pink Martini's first new studio release since 2016's Je dis oui!—is an epic version of the Helen Reddy classic that features bot...
Pink Martini's 20th Anniversary Edition of Debut Album SYMPATHIQUE Out Now
by TV News Desk - June 29, 2018
The 20th Anniversary Edition of Sympathique, the debut album from beloved Oregon-based “little orchestra” Pink Martini, is out now on Heinz Records. The release is live on all digital platforms today and physical product is available July 13. Fans can listen to the album HERE!...
Pink Martini to Release 20th Anniversary Edition of Debut, SYMPATHIQUE June 29
by TV News Desk - June 01, 2018
Beloved Oregon-based 'little orchestra' Pink Martini will release the 20th Anniversary Edition of their acclaimed debut album, Sympathique, on June 29 via Heinz Records. Fans can pre-order the reissue, which is newly re-mastered and features updated packaging, HERE!...
Seaport District Unveils Full Artist Lineup For Inaugural Pier 17 Rooftop Concert Series
by BWW News Desk - May 14, 2018
The Howard Hughes Corporation (NYSE: HHC), in partnership with exclusive booking partner Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: LYV) announced today the full artist lineup for the inaugural Pier 17 Rooftop Concert Series in the Seaport District. In conjunction with previously announced headliners, A...