Sunday, May 14, 2023, 4:00 p.m. — Hering Auditorium
In 1994 in his hometown of Portland, Oregon, Thomas Lauderdale was working in politics, thinking that one day he would run for mayor. He went to every political fundraiser under the sun but was dismayed to find the music at these events underwhelming, lackluster, loud and unneighborly. Drawing inspiration from music from all over the world 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 (Je ne veux pas travailler)” 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.
Featuring a dozen musicians, with songs in 25 languages, Pink Martini performs its multilingual repertoire on concert stages on six continents. 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.”
The performance by Pink Martini featuring China Forbes is part of the Bill Stroecker Jazz Festival.
“One of the world’s most elegant live bands.”
– The Times (UK)
“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
“Lauderdale pulls out numbers from around the world like trinkets from his jacket lining.”