Volume 4 / Chapter 143
[TN: Hey guys – enjoy!]
That night however, Jun Hyuk was surrounded by reporters in front of his house instead of the school. The reporters were Korean.
They had treated him as a wannabe young star who became famous through an audition program, but they fell in love with a star pianist in America. The girl also declared that he is her true teacher in a worldwide competition.
Stardom, love, winning, success, music. There is no better material for an article other than a story with a mix of these. When Jun Hyuk finally got past all of the questions that the reporters were asking and into his apartment, a call from Yoon Kwang Hun was waiting for him.
“Hey! Are you okay?”
“It’s a mess here. What’s going on? Reporters have been here since this morning to ask about Amelia.”
“Reporters are outside my house here too. I’m going to go crazy too.”
When Jun Hyuk told him about Amelia’s interview, Yoon Kwang Hun burst out laughing.
“Ha ha. What an impressive girl. I don’t think you can handle her.”
“Well… I’m slowly getting used to her.”
“Anyway, don’t worry about it by yourself and talk it over with your lawyer if you’re uncomfortable with anything.”
“Okay. Don’t worry. The entrance to this condo is well controlled, so reporters won’t be able to come in.”
Jun Hyuk needed to drive his car around until the reporters calm down. It was at the same speed as walking because it had not been long since he got his license.
A week before going to Salzburg, the deans of the 3 schools held a party for sponsored donations. Professor Roger Neill quietly called for Jun Hyuk, Laura, orchestra bandmaster, and the opera’s male and female leads.
“It would be good for you to make an appearance at the support party tomorrow. What do you think?”
It is a party where the rich gather. If they attend this kind of party, they could get an opportunity. If they are lucky, they could end up with a strong supporter.
“Since you are the leads of this performance, the supporters will be curious.”
It is customary for the stars of the school to attend a university party for sponsored donations. In public universities, the students who are called most often to these parties are the football players. The donors provide the scholarships that they receive.
The American college football league makes a tremendous amount of money. It is because of game admission fees, college team merchandise, and alumni donations.
The star of a conservatory is a promising musician. Laura Goldberg and the other students nodded in resolution. However, it was difficult for Jun Hyuk to accept the invitation easily.
Party culture itself is awkward and he felt like he is becoming something like a spectacle. When Jun Hyuk could not respond easily, Professor Neill started explaining slowly.
“Jun, I can guess why you’re hesitating… If you’re not thinking of going back to Korea after graduating from the conservatory, make sure you attend the party. This is part of this country’s culture. Parties are a watering place in the west, whether it is America or Europe. You need to get used to it. Know that the New York Philharmonic’s standing conductor attends more parties than he stands on stage.”
These were words that Jun Hyuk could not help but nod to.
Jun Hyuk arrived at Pierre Hotel, the best hotel in Manhattan, and entered the ballroom, awkwardly pulling at the hems of his suit.
The party scene was not as Jun Hyuk imagined it would be. There were no old ladies pretending to be elegant in dresses and old men in suits, chatting while holding champagne glasses.
The men were in their 30s at the most in jeans and button-down shirts, and the women in dresses were young and beautiful with high heels.
The only people in suits are the professors and students of the conservatories.
Jun Hyuk grumbled in his uncomfortable stiff shirt while rubbing his neck.
“Damn. What is this? Why are we the only ones in suits? And are those people donors?”
“Ha ha. Jun. It’s been a while since the type of rich has changed. Those young people are rich IT people. They’re CEOs who make tons of money from creating softwares or websites. They’re completely different from the rich of the past. The amount that they donate is totally different too because there is a tremendous amount of taxes. I’m telling you that they add on one more 0 than the rich of the past do.”
“And we need to suck up to those young people?”
“No. Those people don’t even really know classical. I’m sure they aren’t interested in us.”
The orchestra bandmaster kindly explained to Jun Hyuk.
Only half of what the bandmaster said is right. The rich of the past are still the ones who sustain New York’s conservatories. The schools run on their continuous support. The emerging young rich gather when there is an event to throw their donations and disappear.
However, the bandmaster was completely wrong when he said that they would not be interested in the students. As soon as the students’ introductions ended, a lot of people gathered to Jun Hyuk.
“This student is the pianist on Stanley Clarke’s album, right?”
“That’s not it. Stanley Clarke featured on this student’s album. The lead in that album is definitely the piano.”
It could be unfortunate or very lucky, but these people are huge fans of rock, the blues, and jazz.
Jun Hyuk saw reassurance on the professors’ faces. They had been worried about what they would do if these people did not take interest in the students, but they showed enthusiastic reactions.
The dean of Clayton gave Jun Hyuk a look of thanks and approached him.
“This student is the jazz pianist and the conductor of our performance in Salzburg. He’s Clayton’s pride.”
“Conductor? He wasn’t a pianist?”
“Oho. So he was a maestro.”
The dean gave continuous praise because there is an increase in donations with an increase in interest of the rich.
Right around when the dean was becoming boring, Professor Roger Neill went on the stage and took the mic. He gave his lengthy greeting to the guests and called the two students up to the stage.
Jun Hyuk and Laura Goldberg greeted the guests with courtesy from Professor Neill’s side.
“These two stars are going to shake up Salzburg this summer.”
When Professor Neill’s introduction was over, they started a short performance that they had prepared. Even someone who is not interested in classical music would be in awe of Laura’s voice unless they are deaf.
As that awe increases, the wallets of the rich open more easily.
Laura Goldberg stood in front of the mic and Jun Hyuk sat at the piano. With Jun Hyuk’s calm piano, Laura’s beautiful voice flowed out.
“O mio babbino caro~”
As the representative song of Puccini’s opera Gianni Schicci, ‘O Mio Babbino Caro’ started, movement in the banquet hall halted. They do not know the title of the song, but it is one that they know even from listening to the first note. They had followed the golden rule that they need to perform a song that people would know.
Jun Hyuk got lost in her voice again and forgot that he is at a party. He shook off the feelings of discomfort and awkwardness, and focused on playing the piano.
As soon as her song ended, people yelled bravo (for male solos) and the people who knew anything yelled brava (for female solos).
The interest went from Jun Hyuk to Laura. Thanks to this, Jun Hyuk was able to escape from the theater and enjoy time to himself in the beautifully decorated front of the hotel.
That was only for a moment however. An old man with white hair approached the bench Jun Hyuk was sitting on, and sat next to him.
“So you like to be alone.”
“I tend to avoid places that are noisy.”
Jun Hyuk glanced at the old man through the side of his eye.
‘He can’t be… a reporter at that age.’
Jun Hyuk looked away from him.
“You need to know how to enjoy the limelight… Well, I’m sure you’ll get used to it slowly.”
“Do you know who I am?”
“Of course. My introduction is late. I’m Isaac Stern.”
Jun Hyuk took the old man’s hand.
“Do you have something to say to me?”
“I did, but let’s forget it for now. I became your fan today. Ho ho.”
“You’re saying me and not the diva who is the main today?”
“Because today’s the first time I was impressed by a piano accompaniment. I don’t know about those deaf people in that party, but the piano was far superior than the diva’s voice. It was good to listen to.”
The old man stood up from the bench.
“I wanted to make sure to thank you, but bothered you. Then have a good time.”
The old man who introduced himself as Isaac Stern, tipped his hat and bid him farewell.