When you’ve been in the acting game as long as Bill Murray, even working on high-profile films must get boring after a while (see his bartending gig last year). The 66-year-old actor has therefore taken the next logical step — starting a classical music career. His tour, “New Worlds”, will see him partner with renowned cellist Jan Vogler and an ensemble of other classical musicians.
The group, which is known as Bill Murray, Jan Vogler & Friends, will see Murray singing songs from West Side Story, George Gershwin and Stephen Foster, as well as reading literature from great American writers such as Walt Whitman and Ernest Hemingway, accompanied by Schubert, Bach and Piazzolla. Themes of American history and identity will run throughout.
The project began, as I’m sure all good classical music does, when Vogler and Murray got talking on a flight from Berlin to New York in 2013. They started working on ideas for the collaboration soon afterwards, apparently spending a lot of time at Murray’s house “sitting around the fireplace with a pile of books and some good music”, according to Volger.
The project will premiere at Festival Napa Valley in California on July 20, and will then tour in North America.
Sonia Tolbert, the general manager of Festival Napa Valley, has made it clear that the event is not just a whim on Murray’s part, and that since the event was booked and advertised, “Nobody sees it as a stunt of any kind.” It has even had to move to a larger theatre to accommodate ticket demand, she added.
A recording of the performance will be released, Murray says, as a memento of the shows: “I always see it as like, singer-songwriters have a bunch of discs in the trunk of the car. But I guess this is what they do in the classical racket, too.”
Follow Megan Burns on Twitter here @megan_burns_