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Bill Murray Readies first Classical Album & Tour

Bill Murray stars in Hyde Park on Hudson

Bill Murray has spent decades making us laugh, think and view the world around us in a whole new light. Through his countless appearances on “Saturday Night Live” and starring roles in such memorable films like “Ghostbusters,” “Strypes,” “Groundhog Day,” “Lost in Translation” and “Hyde Park on Hudson,” Murray has forged himself into the hearts of a widespread audience. Now, at the age of 66, Murray is once again taking audiences on a new, arguably unexpected ride.

In August, Murray will release his debut album, “New Worlds.” With this album, Murray will sing classics by the likes of Van Morrison, George Gershwin, Stephen Foster and “West Side Story.”

What should prove particularly interesting is Murray reading “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” as his accompanying musicians perform Andy Williams’ “Moon River.”

Murray will also explore “themes of American history and identity” by reading literary works from the likes of Walt Whitman, Ernest Hemingway and Mark Twain. Cellist Jan Vogler, violinist Mira Wang, pianist Vanessa Perez will perform selections from Bach, Schubert and Piazolla as Murray delivers said readings.

Bill Murray - Music

“When they start playing, the demand is so great that if you are attending to who you are right now, it brings out something that you couldn’t have visualized or planned for,” said Murray of the experience during an interview with the New York Times. “You hear all those other voices saying, ‘That didn’t sound like Tony Bennett,’ or, ‘That B flat’s not going to break a light bulb.’ But they’re receding. They’re gone.”

Murray will also tour in support of “New Worlds,” with the first concert happening on July 20 at Festival Napa Valley. A complete touring schedule hasn’t been unveiled, but fans in Toronto can catch Murray on October 13 at The Royal Conservatory of Music, while New Yorkers can see the entertainer at Carnegie Hall on October 16.

-Adam Grant

Here’s a look at what you can expect from Murray’s forthcoming project:

Program:

  • Johann Sebastian Bach: “Prelude” from Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007
  • Walt Whitman: from Song of the Open Road and Song of Myself
  • Stephen Foster: “Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair”
  • Ernest Hemingway: “With Pascin at the Dome” from A Moveable Feast
  • Astor Piazzolla: “La muerte del ángel”
  • George Gershwin: “It Ain’t Necessarily So” from Porgy and Bess
  • Astor Piazzolla: “Oblivion”James Fenimore Cooper:  from The Deerslayer
  • Maurice Ravel: “Blues” from Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 2
  • James Thurber: “If Grant Had Been Drinking at Appomattox” from Writings and Drawings, Library of America
  • Henry Mancini: “Moon River”
  • Mark Twain: from Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • Leonard Bernstein: “Somewhere,” “I Feel Pretty” & “America” from West Side Story (arr. Stephen Buck)

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