Never one to shy away from a new cultural adventure, Bill Murray is venturing in the classical music world in a series of concerts including one in Chicago this fall.
The “Ghostbusters” and “Groundhog Day” star is planning to make appearances with German cellist Jan Vogler, singing and narrating along with Vogler’s performances of music by Foster, Gershwin, Mancini, Bernstein and Bach. Their program together, “New Worlds,” emphasizes classic American poetry and prose.
The artists’ joint tour begins June 2 at Wolfsburg, Germany. Among the North American stops will be an Oct. 10 performance at Chicago’s Symphony Center, with Chinese violinist Mira Wang (Vogler’s wife) and Venezuelan-American pianist Vanessa Perez joining the ensemble. Tickets are available now to Symphony Center subscribers and go on sale for others on June 1.
The project originated after Murray and Vogler met on an airplane in 2013 and took a liking to one another’s achievements. A friendship formed.
The Wilmette native and Second City alum told the New York Times he sees the collaboration as “the collision of America and Europe,” as reflected in the group’s four musicians.
“We are from four different continents,” he said. “And when the continents come together, the music moves right across the peninsulas from one to the other. It’s just a short journey from one continent to the other.”
The group is working on a recording to be released in August.
While readings of Whitman and Hemingway are a far cry from Murray’s best-known work in madcap comedies, they’re an unsurprising next step for the man who in recent years has embraced a Manhattan poetry library and headlined a sometimes somber Netflix Christmas music special. On a new album by his old friend Paul Shaffer, Murray provides vocals for a ditty called “Happy Street.”