Somewhere between a 1930s Cuban dance orchestra, a classical chamber music ensemble, a Brazilian marching street band and Japanese film noir is the 12-piece Pink Martini.
Part language lesson, part Hollywood musical, the Portland, Oregon-based ‘little orchestra’ was created in 1994 in Portland, Oregon by Harvard graduate and classically trained pianist Thomas M. Lauderdale to play at political fundraisers for progressive causes such as civil rights, affordable housing, clean water, and public broadcasting. He soon invited fellow Harvard alumna China Forbes to sing with the band.
The group made its European debut at the Cannes Film Festival and in the years following went on to tour throughout Europe (including France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Switzerland and Monte Carlo), Greece, Turkey, Taiwan, Lebanon and the United States. Equally at home performing its multi-lingual repertoire on concert stages and smoky bars, Pink Martini draws a wildly diverse crowd.
The ensemble made its orchestral debut with the Oregon Symphony Orchestra in 1999 under the direction of Norman Leyden. Pink Martini has also performed with the symphony orchestras of Seattle, Nashville, New Jersey, Charlotte, San Antonio, Kansas City and Jacksonville, among others.
The group performed for three nights with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra in 2000 and two nights with the Los Angeles Philharmonic on a co-bill with Sergio Mendes at the Hollywood Bowl in 2002.