The internationally acclaimed musical sensation PINK MARTINI will bring their unique and highly praised vocal stylings to The McCallum Theatre for a "one night only" concert on Saturday, September 8 at 8:00 pm. Drawing inspiration from music from all over the world – crossing genres of classical, jazz and old-fashioned pop – Pink Martini's diverse repertoire is a blend influenced by Cole Porter and Duke Ellington, Tito Puente and Xavier Cugat, as well as Argentine tango, Brazilian samba, Italian folk, Asian and romantic Hollywood musicals of the 1940s and '50s. According to bandleader/pianist Thomas Lauderdale, "If the United Nations had a house band in 1962, Pink Martini would be that band."
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 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, Thomas 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 Thomas. "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. 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 Thomas' 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 Timesraving "the love and respect Saori Yuki and Pink Martini have for the pop tradition shines through on every track."