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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

World Chess Hall of Fame hosts 'Chess Piano' performance

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hi everyone,

The second-ever-in-the-U.S. performance of 'Number Twelve: Chess Piano Concert in Three Movements,' by Dutch visual artist Guido van der Werve, took place at the World Chess Hall of Fame on Tuesday evening. 

Van der Werve, a chess enthusiast, played play Matthew Bengtson, who is a World Chess Federation (FIDE) chess master and concert pianist. They played on a unique instrument constructed by van der Werve, combining the layout of a chessboard with the mechanics of a piano: each space on the board represents a musical note. Different notes are struck as the game progresses.

The Hall of Fame collaborated with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and the St. Louis Art Museum for the performance, to be introduced by SLSO music director David Robertson. During the musical chess match, nine string musicians from the SLSO also performed van der Werve's original score, conducted by resident conductor Ward Stare.

The chess piano will be on display at the Hall of Fame through Feb. 12. The Hall of Fame will also offer an installation of related photographic works by van der Werve, as part of the larger exhibition "Out of the Box: Artists Play Chess," curated by Bradley Bailey, assistant professor, Saint Louis University.

Coinciding with the event at the Hall of Fame, SLAM presented van der Werve's related film "Number Twelve: Variations on a Theme" as a part of its ongoing New Media Series. The 40-minute film includes three movements: "The king's gambit accepted," "The number of stars in the sky," and "Why a piano can't be tuned or waiting for an earthquake." Curated by SLAM assistant curator of modern and contemporary art Tricia Y. Paik, "Number Twelve" will be on view through January 8, 2012.

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