Closing out Norway Chess with music

by André Schulz
6/26/2019 – The Norway Chess tournament ended not only with a Carlsen win but with music. At the prize giving ceremony Jason Kouchak and Juga di Primo showed off their grandmaster-class musical skills. Both musicians have dramatized chess motifs in their compositions and are great chess fans themselves.

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Jason Kouchak and Juga in Stavanger

Jason Kouchak is a pianist, singer and composer from Lyon. He studied at the Royal College of Music in London and at the University of Edinburgh. As a composer and pianist, he has been invited to numerous events, and performed in all major halls around the world as well as releasing five albums.

Kouchak is also a fan of chess. He helped launch large outdoor chess sets in London's Holland Park and Meadows park in Edinburgh, he was a guest at the public showing of a GBP £350,000 set made by Sir John Tenniel and inspired by Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, and a chess-themed ballet project.

Kouchak meets Carlsen

Jason Kouchak greets Magnus Carlsen

Kouchak in action

Jason Kouchak at the Piano

Kouchak was one of the guests who musically refined the closing ceremony of the Norway Chess Tournament.

At the closing ceremony, Kouchak played Edvard Grieg's Piano Concerto in A Minor as well as unveiling the world premier of 'Queen of the Knight' based on Philidor's 'Princess of Norway' and Mozart's 'Queen of the Night' coupled with a James Bond theme (the latest Bond movie was filmed in part in the Norwegian town of Nittedal a few months ago).

The overall concept was to reflect the fusion of classical chess with blitz Armageddon that characterized this year's Norway Chess tournament.

Here is the video: 


Juga

Juga di Primo

Another musical guest was Juga di Prima (just 'Juga' for short), who also performed. The simultaneously humorous and sensual Chilean singer and composer gained prominence with her song "Oh Capablanca" in September 2018 and her second song, "Isolated Pawn" was released during last November's World Championship match in London.

 

In Stavanger, she introduced her new song "Tactical", inspired by Mikhail Tal. On her website you can find many videos, including a new video of the song "Henua", which also contains allusions to the game of chess. The video is subject to an age restriction, which is why we do not embed it here. But curious chess friends can find many more examples and videos with (partly hidden) chess motifs.

Juga recommends Rudolf Spielmann | Videoframe

Studying chess on the beach in the song HENÛA | Videoframe

If you want to see Juga di Primo live, you will find it at the music festival in Szeged and in November at Judit Polgar's Global Chess Festival.

Translation from German: Macauley Peterson

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André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.
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chessrudolf chessrudolf 8/9/2019 11:53
Nice to see that Chess and Music still connects!
I remember seeing Smyslov singing and Taimonov playing wonderful piano at an informal concert at the London Hilton rooftop in 1996 at the end of the event (veterans v womens chess) it was truly a magical moment of music!
luigimattolda luigimattolda 7/2/2019 11:08
Apparently many grandmasters at the Grand Chess Tour in Croatia this week have special pre-chess rituals including listening to their own favourite music. Anyone know what they are listening to?
stevenbriers stevenbriers 7/1/2019 12:57
Great ideas! Love the Bond meets Mozart song-Philidor would be proud!
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