Mira Wang, Vanessa Perez, Bill Murray and Jan Vogler, photo Peter Rigaud

Bill Murray’s Film ‘New Worlds: The Cradle of Civilization’ Captures Unique Concert, in UK Cinemas from 2nd February 2022

by Geoff Ford

Following a rapturously received premiere at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, a unique concert film from multiple award-winning actor Bill Murray is set to come to UK cinemas from 2nd February next year which is, of course, a notable day for Murray, Groundhog Day!.

New Worlds: The Cradle of Civilization was filmed at the historic Acropolis in Athens, Greece in June 2018. The film is directed by Andrew Muscato, and captures Murray’s first real music project throughout his varied and incredible career. The show features world renowned cellist Jan Vogler, violinist Mira Wang and pianist Vanessa Perez.

This eclectic show, conceived by Murray and Vogler, features a blend of classical music, rock, jazz, poetry and literature. Murray reads and sings throughout the film with music performed by the ensemble; all tied together with the wit, humour, and deadpan sincerity that Golden Globe and BAFTA award-winner Murray is known for.

The film features songs by the likes of Tom Waits, Van Morrison, George Gershwin, and Leonard Bernstein, classical pieces by Bach and Schubert and poetry and literature by Walt Whitman, Lucille Clifton, and James Fenimore Cooper. Murray and the ensemble journey through a range of art, tied together by themes of American and European identity and history, on the 2000-year-old stage of the Odeon of Herodes Atticus.

Bill Murray, photo Dorn Music

The performance left the 3000 people in the Athenian audience both moved and laughing. It came at the finale of a tour that Murray and his collaborators had embarked upon following their collaboration on the 2017 album New Worlds. The Times commented on the London Royal Festival Hall performance of the tour that Murray ‘… delivered a masterclass in physical humour’.

The New Worlds project began after a chance meeting that reads like something from a Bill Murray film.

Murray and Vogler met on a flight from Berlin to New York in 2013 with Murray amused that Vogler’s cello was taking up the window seat. A friendship was struck up, leading to this collaboration, which seeks to explore a canon of art seemingly disparate but, in fact, linked the attempt to explore culture between Europe and the United States.

“I rode the perfect wave of three wondrous musicians” said Bill Murray of the collaboration.

New Worlds became a fantastic artistic journey,” Jan Vogler added, “that was born out of my friendship with Bill. I will always treasure our New Worlds Tour as one of the most exciting adventures in my life.”

On bringing New Worlds to global cinema audiences, producer Tanja Dorn of Dorn Music said: “We couldn’t be more humbled that the years of working with Bill Murray, Jan Vogler, Mira Wang and Vanessa Perez on New Worlds has culminated in this worldwide theatrical release. We are thrilled that with our partners we can now bring it to audiences to enjoy.”

The Acropolis as the cradle of Western Civilisation is a fitting and timely venue for this night of artistic exploration blending classical music, literature, and quintessential standards, with a distinctive performance that only Bill Murray could accomplish.

Bill Murray, Mira Wang, Jan Vogler and Vanessa Perez, photo Dorn Music

The performance in Athens was presented by Minos EMI.

The album, New Worlds: Bill Murray, Jan Vogler & Friends is available on Decca Gold. 

For tickets, please visit https://www.cinemalive.com/event/BillMurraysNewWorlds