Frost Amphitheater




Pink Martini Holiday Spectacular


Sunday, December 12, 2021
4:00 PM
Bing Concert Hall



Generously supported by David Wollenberg and The Wollenberg Foundation.

Stanford Live Season Sponsor: 


PROGRAM SUBJECT TO CHANGE. Please be considerate of others and turn off all phones, pagers, and watch alarms. Photography and recording of any kind are not permitted. Thank you.

HEALTH AND SAFETY: All patrons are required to wear a mask at this performance.

About Pink Martini

“Pink Martini is a rollicking around-the-world musical adventure… if the United Nations had a house band in 1962, hopefully we’d be that band.”
– Thomas Lauderdale, bandleader/pianist


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 (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.  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 a dozen musicians, with songs in 25 languages, Pink Martini performs its multilingual repertoire on concert stages on six continents. After making its European debut at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997 and its orchestral debut with the Oregon Symphony in 1998, 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, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the BBC Concert Orchestra at Royal Albert Hall in London. In 2014, Pink Martini was inducted into both the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame and the Oregon Music Hall of Fame. 

Pink Martini has released 11 studio albums on its own independent label Heinz Records (named after Lauderdale’s dog), selling over 3 million albums worldwide. In 2019, the band released two EPs featuring the vocals of Pink Martini’s newest members Jimmie Herrod and Edna Vazquez. Both vocalists have toured with the band for the past year and are officially part of the group with the release of Herrod’s EP Tomorrow and Vaquez’s Bésame Mucho, both of which were co-produced by Thomas Lauderdale and China Forbes.


China Forbes was born and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts where she graduated cum laude from Harvard and was awarded the Jonathan Levy Prize for "most promising actor." She headed to New York City and appeared in regional theatre and off-Broadway productions, also fronting her first band in numerous NYC clubs. Her solo album "Love Handle" was released in 1995 and she was chosen to sing "Ordinary Girl," the theme song to the TV show Clueless.

It was that same year Harvard classmate Thomas Lauderdale invited her to sing with Pink Martini, and she has since written many of the band's most beloved songs with Lauderdale, including “Sympathique,” “Lilly,” “Clementine,” “Let’s Never Stop Falling in Love,” and "Over the Valley" to name a few. Her original song “Hey Eugene” is the title track of Pink Martini’s third album, and many of her songs can also be heard on television and film. She sang “Qué Será Será” over the credits of Jane Campion’s film In the Cut and her song "The Northern Line" appears at the end of sister Maya Forbes' directorial debut Infinitely Polar Bear (Sony Pictures Classics). Both films star Mark Ruffalo by coincidence.

With Pink Martini, China has appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and Later with Jools Holland. She has performed songs in over 20 languages and has sung duets with Rufus Wainwright, Michael Feinstein, Carol Channing, and many other wonderful artists. She has performed in venues from Carnegie Hall to Red Rocks, the Hollywood Bowl to Paris’ l’Olympia and Sydney Opera House. China also performs opera recitals annually with members of the Oregon Symphony in its free community outreach program “Classical Up Close.”  Her second solo album ’78 came out on Heinz Records in 2008, a collection of autobiographical folk-rock songs.

In July 2021 China released her post-pandemic anthem “Full Circle,” followed by “Rise,” a song of home and mental-health awareness. China is currently at work on a forthcoming full length solo album.

Raised on a plant nursery in rural Indiana, Pink Martini bandleader Thomas M. Lauderdale began piano lessons at age six with Patricia Garrison. When his family moved to Portland in 1982, he began studying with Sylvia Killman, who to this day continues to serve as his coach and mentor. He has appeared as soloist with numerous orchestras and ensembles, including the Oregon Symphony, the Seattle Symphony, Portland Youth Philharmonic, Chamber Music Northwest, and several collaborations with Oregon Ballet Theatre. In 2008, he played Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F with the Oregon Symphony under the direction of Christoph Campestrini. 

Active in Oregon politics since a student at U.S. Grant High School (where he was student body president), Thomas served under Portland Mayor Bud Clark and Oregon governor Neil Goldschmidt. In 1991, he worked under Portland City Commissioner Gretchen Kafoury on the drafting and passage of the city’s civil rights ordinance. He graduated with honors from Harvard with a degree in History and Literature in 1992. He spent most of his collegiate years, however, in cocktail dresses, taking on the role of “cruise director” … throwing waltzes with live orchestras and ice sculptures, disco masquerades with gigantic pineapples on wheels, midnight swimming parties, and operating a Tuesday night coffeehouse called Café Mardi. 

Instead of running for political office, Lauderdale founded Pink Martini in 1994 to play political fundraisers for progressive causes such as civil rights, the environment, affordable housing, and public broadcasting. In addition to his work with Pink Martini, Lauderdale has most recently completed two long awaited collaborations with dear friends. In 2018 he completed Love for Sale, an album of jazz standards with singer/civil rights leader Kathleen Saadat, that began as a gift to a few friends and ended up being a Billboard Jazz charts-ranking album the month it was released. 

In 2019, Thomas Lauderdale and members of Pink Martini collaborated on a new release with the international singing sensation Meow Meow. The album Hotel Amour—the culmination of almost a decade of work—features guest appearances by Rufus Wainwright, The von Trapps, Barry Humphries (of Dame Edna fame), and the inimitable late French pianist and composer, Michel Legrand. Currently, Thomas is collaborating with the iconic Iranian singer Googoosh, on her forthcoming album. Spring of 2022 will also see long awaited release of Thomas’s collaboration with Portland’s own surf-rock indie icons, Satan’s Pilgrims.

Lauderdale currently serves on the boards of the Oregon Symphony, Pioneer Courthouse Square, the Oregon Historical Society, and the Confluence Project with Maya Lin. He lives in Portland with his partner Hunter Noack.

Born in Jalisco, Mexico, and currently based on Portland, Oregon, Edna Vazquez is a fearless singer, songwriter, and guitarist whose powerful voice and musical talent transcend the boundaries of language to engage and uplift her audience. Her original music crosses the genres of alternative rock, folk, pop, and R&B seamlessly and delivers a message of light, love, and cultural healing. Her passion for music and education have lead her to empower youth and the community through workshops and projects with the Bravo Youth Orchestras, Young Audiences, and the Lullaby Project by Carnegie Hall through the Oregon Symphony. After releasing her album, Sola Soy, Edna Vazquez began to perform at venues nationwide that include the Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center. She has also performed at the MGM in Las Vegas in a special performance with Latin Grammy award-winner Flor de Toloache and Natalia Lafourcade. Vazquez received the Most Influential Latina Award 2019 and is currently regularly touring with Pink Martini as featured guest vocalist. Pink Martini’s album with Edna Vazquez, Bésame Mucho, was released in 2019. 


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Generously supported by David Wollenberg and The Wollenberg Foundation.

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