Volume 5 / Chapter 170
[TN: Bigger and better things]
Dinner was much more perplexing than lunch was. Tara’s description that it is a gathering for young female sponsors was inaccurate. It was a gathering for leopards who did whatever they needed to in order to succeed, putting in more effort than the men.
They are loud and expressive. They poured questions out on him and did not hesitate to make dirty jokes about his beautiful girlfriend.
A few were even blatantly flirtatious. It was to the point where even Tara was sweating.
They could understand why these women who never requested dinner with white-haired old conductors had been quick to ask for a dinner with Jun Hyuk.
Once the over 2 hour dinner was over, Jun Hyuk thought that this would be more tiring than conducting all symphonies.
Jun Hyuk was thankful to Tara for not scheduling another meeting with sponsors for him for 2 weeks. But Jun Hyuk did not know Tara’s true toils. She was moving quietly on behalf of Jun Hyuk.
When a Korean player enters the major leagues, the first sponsors to appear are from the Korean society abroad. As such, the Korean society in Boston was trying to create a sponsor association.
However, Tara respectfully declined. She did not want Jun Hyuk to have to be called away to a gathering to drink at least once a month.
“We will respectfully decline having sponsors who have never seen the Boston Philharmonic, but would like to participate just because the conductor is Korean. The Boston Philharmonic only receives donations that are for music. I will let you know the best way to give support. Purchase tickets and watch the concert. Maestro Jun will be most pleased with that.”
It was not just that. She made sure to block access from Korean reporters. She did not know why, but she could tell that Jun Hyuk hates the Korean press.
Two weeks went by after the first rehearsal. The orchestra members have a goal, but it is not easy to achieve that goal. They still cannot perform even half of the 1st part.
They even used the method that the Berlin Philharmonic used. The members put in ear plugs, paid attention to other sounds, and played the music focusing only on the score and Jun Hyuk’s conducting. However, they only came to know the complaints of the Berlin Philharmonic for over a year. The Berlin Philharmonic is really persistent for performing in this frustrating method for over a year, and conductor Maestro Saril Petrenko really has extreme patience.
Jun Hyuk had been expecting the orchestra to forget at least a bit of the score and started to fret. He was not sure if they would be able to complete the song by next May when the season is over. It is also unprecedented that a visiting conductor can be put up for 2 seasons with the same song. Even if he had Patrick Quinn’s support, the Board would not tolerate it.
As Yoon Kwang Hun said, a professional must do as much as he is paid.
He finished a rehearsal without development, came back to the hotel, and contemplated how they could succeed in a short period of time.
While lost in thought, he heard the sound of a visitor. When Jun Hyuk opened the door, Amelia jumped into his arms.
“Amelia. What’s going on?”
“I didn’t call you so I could surprise you. What do you think?”
“You succeeded. I’m really surprised. Ha ha.”
“Do you know how much I suffered to switch my schedule around? I completely pushed the concert in Japan back.”
After winning the Tchaikovsky Competition, Amelia was the emerging female pianist. She is about to surpass Yuja Wang who is currently the best in China. A flashy appearance with a fitting performance full of charisma and power. Even a fashion that shows the passion of South America.
The number of fans she had increased as they admired her videos on YouTube and in Japan where there are a lot of piano fanciers, her popularity is explosive. If she pushed the Japan concert back, it means that she has pushed back an incredible income.
“Then how about in Boston? You don’t have a concert?”
“Ugh – Why wouldn’t I? My manager won’t let me rest. I have 2 concerts, one at Harvard and one at MIT. And I have to go to Philadelphia in 3 days.”
“What? You didn’t come here to spend Christmas together?”
“Sorry. Philadelphia is the Christmas and New Years concert. Boston Philharmonic has a concert too.”
“Then we don’t have time to be doing this!”
Jun Hyuk picked Amelia up and went into the room.
“How long do you think it’ll take?”
“What? The performance?”
“3 months to record the album. The performance should end with this season? We need to put it on stage in May. That’s the goal.”
Jun Hyuk leaned on Amelia and spoke confidently.
“Oho. It looks like you’re overflowing with drive.”
“He he. There’s a reason why I have to.”
Amelia felt like the maestro title brought Jun Hyuk motivation. To her, the most fitting image of Jun Hyuk is as a conductor. Furthermore, a conductor who conducts his own music.
“Then what happens once this season ends?”
“I don’t know. I haven’t thought about it.”
As Amelia had worried, Jun Hyuk was not preparing at all. She cautiously brought up what she always wanted to say to him.
“Jun. Don’t take this the wrong way and listen.”
“Yeah. What is it?”
“Just because you make the world talk doesn’t mean that you’ll keep getting opportunities like the Boston Philharmonic. You only have Inferno as the one objective data.”
“The world’s famous maestros might praise you, but philharmonic orchestras will react coldly. A young genius whose everything is Inferno. That’s it. If you perform and release an album with Boston, other places won’t call for you. And…..”
Amelia hit Jun Hyuk’s hand when he jokingly stuttered. She is in the middle of saying something important.
“Since Inferno is experimental and underground, there’s a high possibility it’ll end after this one time. The reason for other philharmonics to perform it disappears.”
It is what Colin said a long time ago when he quit the cello to do popular music. Experimental contemporary music ends with the premiere and is not fated to be put on stage ever again. The audience, conductor, and orchestras will eventually go back to Beethoven. They can foresee the future of Inferno.
“Then I’ll end it. Whatever.”
Jun Huk spoke as if it is not a big deal. He was intending to end his receiving money to create something he has to take responsibility for with this anyway. He was brought all the way here with Boston Philharmonic’s fame, but it is more fitting for him to live while doing what he wants rather than working for money.
“What? End it? Ho ho. Will it be that easy?”
Amelia pinched Jun Hyuk’s lips and twisted them.
“You think you’ll be able to let go of the world’s most perfect and complete instrument when it’s been placed in your hands? Jun, you’ve already experienced it while performing Magic Flute.”
“I’m not sure. It wasn’t attractive to that extent.”
“Ah, sorry. Those kids were lacking. But it’s the Boston Philharmonic. One of the best instruments in the world. I’m pretty sure you’ll never the thrill of it.”
He had not experienced what Amelia is talking about yet. Of course he had countlessly experienced the moment when his mind and finger playing an instrument became one. The joy of feeling like 1 hour is 1 second.
Would he be able to experience something more than this with the Boston Philharmonic?
Jun Hyuk looked at Amelia flirtatiously.
“The introduction is long. I thought you said you don’t have time. Get to the point.”
“You need to build your career. It’s something every musician needs to do.”
“A career… Specifically?”
Amelia said the fastest way to show the world Jun Hyuk’s talent.
“Submit a work to the Queen Elisabeth Competition. In the composition area.”
The competition’s name is not taken from the British Queen Elizabeth, but from Queen Elisabeth Von Wittelsbach of Belgium.
This competition started in 1951 and is composed of 4 sections, the violin, piano, composition, and vocals. The violin, piano, and vocal sectors are alternated to be held every 3 years while the composition sector opens every 2 years. It is held in May every year.
Participant ages are limited to under 27 for the piano and violin, and under 40 for composition. The composition portion’s age limit is higher because it is thought that maturity from experiencing life’s ordeals will produce better music. Most composition winners are in their thirties.
“Yeah. Submit a song that’s so great it would make someone pass out. A concerto. You’ll win, I’m sure. The pianist or violinist who makes it into finals plays the composition winner’s song in the finals. That’s where you conduct.”
“Berlin’s national philharmonic takes the orchestra in the finals, but I’m sure they’ll give you the baton since you already have experience with the Boston Philharmonic.”
The unique aspect about this competition is that the winners who reach the finals, excluding those from the composition section, practice the selected winner from the composition section’s piece for 1 week to perform it. That is why candidates for the composition section need to submit their pieces by December, and the winner is notified in January.
It is just that the win is canceled if the winner reveals the fact to the world.
It is a measure taken to ensure that the piano or violin participants do not see the score beforehand.
Since 12 finalists need to perform this, there can be at least 12 stages. In May of the next year when the contract with Boston ends, the timing is perfect to prepare for the Queen Elisabeth Competition.
“The goal isn’t an experimental song like Inferno, but to show them that you’re capable of composing anything. After that, you reveal all of the songs you’ve written. It’s going to shake the world up. It’ll be incomparable to what happened with Inferno. Ho ho.”
The competition is just an appetizer. The main course is releasing Jun Hyuk’s incredible pieces. Amelia laughs at just the thought of it.
“If your great works are revealed to the world, you’ll get your first chance to conduct a performance of your songs.”
“What? You really want your boyfriend to be a maestro? I’m no longer qualified to be your boyfriend if I just have fun and write songs once in a while?”
Amelia knows that it is a joke, but it is a welcome thought to her.
“It’s a relief for me if you say you want to rest while writing songs. Then we could always be together. Is that really what you want to do?”
“Based on how you do.”
Jun Hyuk hugged Amelia again.