Bill Murray’s New Classical Music Tour Is No Joke

Bill Murray is a man with varied tastes. His latest project involves teaming up with cellist Jan Vogler for a classical music and spoken word show called New Worlds, which will premiere on July 20 at Festival Napa Valley. A recording of the performance will also be released as an album in August.

Bill Murray is an actor typically known for his comedic roles in films, such as Phil Connors in Groundhog Day, Peter Venkman in the Ghostbusters films, and himself in the movie Zombieland. Murray has also been seen in public by fans, leading to some interesting experiences. In fact, there is an entire website, called Bill Murray Story, filled with stories people have shared about their experiences with Murray. These stories range from Bill Murray buying someone a plate of rice, to Bill Murray hanging out and eating fries with someone, to simply a picture of Bill Murray, covered in cake, with no explanation given. Although the website does admit that some of the stories are fictional, there are some that have really happened, and it is still fun to read through the stories.

Bill Murray at 'A Very Murray Christmas' premiere in New York 2015
Bill Murray at the premiere of 'A Very Murray Christmas' in New York [Image by Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images]

Murray got his start in the National Lampoon Radio Hour, and shortly after that, joined Saturday Night Live. From there, Bill Murray went on to become a very well-known actor, whose name and face are easily recognizable by just about everyone. Murray is known not just for his films, but for the internet following from stories like the ones mentioned above, and from other internet memes, such as the “No one will ever believe you.” trend.

Bill Murray’s newest project, the New Worlds show, may be a deviation from what fans have come to associate with Murray, but it is sure to be a wonderful experience, nonetheless. The project first became an idea when Bill Murray and Jan Vogler met on a flight a few years ago. Murray and Vogler will be joined in the show by violinist Mira Wang and pianist Vanessa Perez. According to an article in The Guardian, the show will have Murray singing songs from the musical West Side Story, as well as selections of music from George Gershwin and Stephen Foster. There is also a spoken word portion of the show, where Murray will read selections from Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, and Walt Whitman. The musical works of Bach, Schubert, and Piazzolla will also feature in the show, provided by Wang and Perez.

In an email to NPR, Jan Vogler commented about easy it was to decide what to do for New Worlds given the artistic differences between Bill Murray and herself.

“We met up and we listened to a lot of music,” Vogler told NPR.

“He is so musical and would whistle a tune as soon as I would mention it. We found our common favorites and started talking about literature. It was surprising how much we agreed on the choices of both literature and music.”

The New Worlds show is not Bill Murray’s first foray into music. Murray sings in the film Lost in Translation, and this article on Mental Floss has an entire list of songs that Murray has covered in the past. Murray is also a lover of poetry and is a strong supporter of a library in Manhattan called the Poet’s House. Last year, Rolling Stone covered Murray’s love of poetry extensively, mentioning the fact that Murray used to write poetry as a child, and going on to report on Murray’s impromptu recitation of Emily Dickinson.

Bill Murray at 67th Annual Directors Guild of America Awards 2015
Bill Murray speaks at the 67th Annual Directors Guild of America Awards in 2015 [Image by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]

While this new venture into classical music may seem odd or uncharacteristic to fans, to Bill Murray, it is perfectly normal. New Worlds is an outlet for Murray to express something that he enjoys. Hopefully, it is one his fans will enjoy as well.

[Featured Image by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images]