March 3, 2017


March 17-19, 2017

HOUSTON (March 6, 2017) – Pink Martini, the internationally-celebrated “little orchestra” that blurs the barriers between classical, Latin, jazz and classic pop music, returns to the Houston Symphony with special guest Ari Shapiro, co-host of National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, at 8 p.m. March 17-18 and 7:30 p.m. March 19.

Led by Principal POPS Conductor Designate Steven Reineke, Pink Martini returns with lead vocalist China Forbes and Shapiro to put a festive spin on favorites like “Brazil,” “¿Dónde Estás, Yolanda?,” “Yo Te Quiero Siempre” and “Hey Eugene.” Also on the program are songs from the group’s most recent studio album, Je dis oui!, which features songs in English, Arabic, Armenian, Farsi, French, Xhosa, Portuguese and Turkish. Houston is the only city on Pink Martini’s American Heartland Tour that will include performances by Shapiro.

Founded in 1994 by pianist Thomas Lauderdale, Portland, Oregon-based Pink Martini draws inspiration from music from all over the world, crossing genres and languages. As a 12-piece ensemble, Pink Martini performs its multilingual repertoire on stages throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Northern Africa, Australia, New Zealand, South America, and North America. The band has performed with over 50 orchestras around the world including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Pops and the BBC Orchestra, and has appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and BBC Two’s Later...with Jools Holland.

Shapiro, a longtime Pink Martini collaborator and co-host of NPR’s flagship evening news program, All Things Considered, made his singing debut with the band at the Hollywood Bowl in 2009 before an audience of nearly 18,000 people. Since then, he has regularly joined them in concert around the world and recorded songs on the group’s albums Splendor in the Grass, Joy to the World, Get Happy and Je dis oui!

The concert will take place at Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, 615 Louisiana Street, in Houston’s Theater District. For tickets and information, please call (713) 224-7575 or visit Tickets may also be purchased at the Houston Symphony Patron Services Center in Jones Hall (Monday–Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.). All programs and artists are subject to change.

Friday, March 17, 2017, at 8 p.m.
Saturday, March 18, 2017, at 8 p.m.
Sunday, March 19, 2017, at 7:30 p.m.
Steven Reineke, conductor
Pink Martini featuring China Forbes and Ari Shapiro, vocalists
Tickets from $35

About Steven Reineke
Steven Reineke’s boundless enthusiasm and exceptional artistry have made him one of the nation’s most sought-after pops conductors, composers and arrangers. Steven is the Houston Symphony’s Principal Pops Conductor Designate, music director of The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, principal pops conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and principal pops conductor of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. He previously held the posts of principal pops conductor of the Long Beach Symphony and Modesto Symphony Orchestra and associate conductor of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.
         Steven is a frequent guest conductor with The Philadelphia Orchestra and has been on the podium with the Boston Pops, The Cleveland Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Ravinia. His extensive North American conducting appearances include San Francisco, Seattle, Edmonton, Pittsburgh, Vancouver, Ottawa (National Arts Centre), Detroit, Milwaukee and Calgary.
         Onstage, Steven has created programs and collaborated with a range of leading artists from hip-hop, Broadway, television and rock, including: Kendrick Lamar, Nas, Sutton Foster, Megan Hilty, Cheyenne Jackson, Wayne Brady, Peter Frampton and Ben Folds, among others.
         As the creator of more than 100 orchestral arrangements for the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Steven’s work has been performed worldwide, and can be heard on numerous Cincinnati Pops Orchestra recordings on the Telarc label. His symphonic works Celebration Fanfare, Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Casey at the Bat are frequently performed in North America, including performances by the New York Philharmonic and Los Angeles Philharmonic. His Sun Valley Festival Fanfare commemorated the Sun Valley Summer Symphony’s pavilion, and his Festival Te Deum and Swan’s Island Sojourn were debuted by the Cincinnati Symphony and Cincinnati Pops Orchestras. His numerous wind ensemble compositions are published by the C.L. Barnhouse Company and are performed by concert bands worldwide.
        A native of Ohio, Steven is a graduate of Miami University of Ohio, where he earned bachelor of music degrees with honors in both trumpet performance and music composition. He currently resides in New York City with his husband, Eric Gabbard.

About Thomas Lauderdale
Thomas Lauderdale was raised in rural Indiana and began piano lessons at age 6. When his family moved to Portland in 1982, he began studying with Sylvia Killman, who remains his coach and mentor today. At age 14, he made his first appearance with the Oregon Symphony under the direction of Norman Leyden.
        Active in Oregon politics since he was student body president at Grant High School, 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 and operating a Tuesday night coffeehouse called Café Mardi.
        Instead of running for political office, Thomas founded Pink Martini in 1994 to play political fundraisers for progressive causes such as civil rights, the environment and affordable housing.
        Now in its 23rd year, Pink Martini and Thomas Lauderdale are Oregon’s “musical ambassadors to the world,” performing a multilingual repertoire on concert stages from Carnegie Hall to the Hollywood Bowl to The Royal Albert Hall, and with more than 50 symphony orchestras throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the Americas. The band has released nine albums on its own label, Heinz Records, most recently "Dream a Little Dream," a collaboration with The von Trapps.
        Thomas currently serves on the boards of the Oregon Symphony and Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland, Oregon.

About China Forbes
China Forbes, born and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts, graduated cum laude from Harvard and was awarded the Jonathan Levy Award for acting.
        Appearances in New York regional theatre and off-off Broadway productions earned China her Equity card. She put her first band together in 1994 and played regularly at CBGB’s Gallery, Mercury Lounge and Brownies. Her first solo album, Love Handle, was released in 1995, and she was chosen to sing "Ordinary Girl," the theme song to the TV show Clueless.
        That’s when she was plucked from New York by Harvard classmate Thomas Lauderdale to sing with Pink Martini. The two have since written many of Pink Martini’s most beloved songs, including “Sympathique,” “Lilly,” “Clementine,” “Let’s Never Stop Falling in Love,” "Over the Valley" and, most recently, "A Snowglobe Christmas," which can be heard on Pink Martini's holiday album Joy to the World. 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 “Que Sera Sera” over the opening and closing credits of Jane Campion’s film, In the Cut, and her “The Northern Line" appears at the end of sister Maya Forbes' directorial debut of Infinitely Polar Bear (Sony Pictures).
        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 more than 12 languages and has sung duets with Michael Feinstein, Jimmy Scott, Georges Moustaki, Henri Salvador, Saori Yuki, Faith Prince, Carol Channing and Rufus Wainwright in venues from Carnegie Hall to the Hollywood Bowl to the Grand Rex in Paris. Her second solo album,’78, (Heinz Records) is a collection of autobiographical folk-rock songs.
        Several years ago, China took a leave of absence from Pink Martini to undergo surgery on her vocal chords and to spend time with her son. Thankfully all went very well and she is thrilled to be back on stage every chance she gets.

About Ari Shapiro
When he is not touring with Pink Martini, Ari is the co-host of NPR’s flagship evening news program, All Things Considered. He joined the program in September 2015 after living abroad as NPR’s international correspondent in London. He has reported from above the Arctic Circle and aboard Air Force One; he has covered wars in Iraq, Ukraine, and Israel; and he has filed stories from five continents (sorry, Australia).
Before moving to London, Ari spent four years as White House Correspondent for NPR, covering the Obama Administration. In 2012, he embedded with the Presidential campaign of Republican Mitt Romney. He was NPR’s Justice Correspondent for five years during the George W. Bush Administration, covering one of the most tumultuous periods in the Department’s history.
As a high school kid in Portland, Oregon, Ari was a Pink Martini fan before the band ever released an album. In the 1990s, he would often sneak into small clubs to watch their earliest shows. His singing debut with Pink Martini was at the Hollywood Bowl in 2009, before an audience of 18,000 people. Since then, he has regularly joined the band in concerts around the world. He has also recorded songs on the Pink Martini albums Splendor in the Grass, Joy to the World, Get Happy and their newest album Je dis oui!

During the 2016-17 season, the Houston Symphony celebrates its third season with Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada, and continues its second century as one of America’s leading orchestras with a full complement of concert, community, education, touring and recording activities. The Houston Symphony is one of the oldest performing arts organizations in Texas whose inaugural performance was held at The Majestic Theater in downtown Houston on June 21, 1913. Today, with an annual operating budget of $33.9 million, the full-time ensemble of 87 professional musicians and 4 community-embedded musicians is the largest performing arts organization in Houston, presenting more than 300 performances for 400,000 people, including 97,000 children, annually. For tickets and more information, please visit or call 713-224-7575.

MEDIA CONTACTS:           

Vanessa Astros: (713) 337-8560,

Lorena Cozzari: (713) 337-8548,          

Kristen Bennett: (713) 337-8557,