Woodstock Guitarist Gilles Malkine

Woodstock Guitarist Gilles Malkine

Not sure which one is the obviously younger Gilles. Picture from his FB page which doesn’t indicate which player is him.

Gilles Malkone (pronounced jeel malkeen) was born in Paris on November 7, 1948 and played with Tim Hardin at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair on that famous festival’s opening day.  What is he up to nowadays?

According to Wade Lawrence’s WoodsTalk piece on Tim Hardin, “Gilles Malkine, guitarist, lives in Woodstock, New York, and is an actor, guitarist, artist, writer, disability advocate, illustrator, cartoonist, and composer.”

It’s always more valuable to have some first-hand observations from the performers themselves and according to some email exchanges from Gilles:

Tim [Hardin] was not scheduled to go on first, Sweetwater was, but they were held up in traffic.

Bert Sommer was queasy from the helicopter ride – he was not fond of heights. Tim was asked to start the show but declined, as many are likely to do. Richie, to his everlasting glory, accepted.

Tim did perform solo for the first six tunes, then brought the band on for the last four. 

Gilles Malkine
Gilles at Woodstock

Mikhail Horwitz

Gilles Malkine is often part of a duo with Mikhail Horwitz. According to their page, they “…have been confounding Hudson Valley and cross-country audiences since 1989. Their original, zany, and imaginative verbal acrobatics and updated parodies of classic folk tunes have left onlookers laughing until they’re gasping for breath. Their satirical takes on world currents consistently hit the mark, as do their rap versions of such literary classics as Moby-Dick, Homer’s Odyssey, and Waiting for Godot.

And their version of “This Land Is Your Land.”

Woodstock Guitarist Gilles Malkine

Sounds like fun

The site goes on to say that, “Individually and as a duo, they have appeared onstage with John Sebastian, Tim Hardin, Natalie Merchant, Jay Ungar & Molly Mason, Ed Sanders (The Fugs), Prof. Peter Schickele, and Allen Ginsberg, to name just a few unwitting collaborators.”

Woodstock Guitarist Gilles Malkine

Gilles Malkine

It is interesting to this Woodstock alum that Malkine does not mention the Woodstock Music and Art Fair performance to any great extent. That’s my own bias, of course.

According to his Facebook page, Gilles “…was raised in Woodstock and began acting (publicly) at the age of 11 in the 1960 summer stock season at the Woodstock Playhouse. He later studied the Sanford Meisner acting technique with Brad Dourif at the Woodstock Film and Actors Guild. His stage career has included many theater, film, and video productions, serving as actor, singer, musician, musical director, composing, arranging, performing, and recording songs, scores, and sound tracks for various projects—the list ranges from guitarist at the 1969 Woodstock Festival to co-starring on Off-Broadway. He has made many recordings including a brand new solo album, and has been performing comedy with his partner-in-crime, Mikhail Horowitz, for the past 22 years; it has been said they have been doing to performance poetry what freon has been doing to the ozone. He is currently starring with Melissa Leo in a soon-to-be-released film titled Persephone.

Woodstock Guitarist Gilles Malkine


The movie Persephone was released on October 12, 2012.

IMDB does add that Gilles has also been in The Arsonist’s Affair, a short also in 2012.

Here is a great video showcasing Malkine’s guitar playing.

The description below the video says, “Gilles Malkine is a guitarist from Woodstock, NY, and a veteran of the 1969 Woodstock Festival as guitarist in Tim Hardin’s band. He loves writing feel-good music and is delighted to share this tune from his 2012 album TimeDog (available at CD Baby and other purveyors of fine music). On this cut, Martin Keith is on upright bass and Harvey Sorgen on drums and washboard.”

Gilles Malkine

Woodstock Guitarist Gilles Malkine

Acoustic Folk

His own album description was: “Acoustic folk/blues style, with a little mellifluous classical and romantic South American thrown in; mostly original material on subjects as life, love, war, time, and dreams, with an occasional humorous and satirical twist.”


In closing, Gilles Malkine continued to entertain and teach us. One might say he’s continuing the spirit of Woodstock, but more likely he is one of the roots from which that spirit grew.


Mikhail Horowitz and Gilles Malkine. (Photo by Dion Ogust)

On December 1,  2021, hv1 reported that on “Friday, November 19 [2021] was the end of an era. The occasion was billed as the final performance ever — at that venue, at least — by “wordshpritzer” Mikhail Horowitz and guitarist Gilles Malkine. The satirical duo have been performing their verbal and musical gymnastics at Unison since 1989, soon after they first teamed up, and invariably sell out the venue. Now both in their 70s, they’ve decided that they’re not up to the demands of a full-length performance anymore.

“We’re not broken up,” Gilles insists. “We still will perform together.” 

Woodstock Guitarist Gilles Malkine

Gilles revisiting the site:

Woodstock Guitarist Gilles Malkine
Malkine on the site of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair
Woodstock Guitarist Gilles Malkine