Volume 5 / Chapter 177
[Back in Korea]
When Jun Hyuk arrived at the cafe, signs saying that it is temporarily closed stood out to him.
“Sir. I’m here.”
When he entered through the cafe doors, Yoon Kwang Hun was wiping his hands and walking out of the kitchen.
“You’re here? How was it flying on a private plane? Was it comfortable?”
“It was amazing. It just felt like a house.”
Yoon Kwang Hun welcomed Jun Hyuk without making a fuss, as if he is greeting a son who has come home after a day of work.
“But why are you temporarily closed? Are you repairing the cafe?”
“No. Because you’re coming. If we open, you need to stay locked up at home upstairs.”
In contrast to his calm demeanor, he had been waiting for Jun Hyuk.
“You must be jetlagged. Go upstairs and get some sleep. I cleared up your room already.”
“No. I slept a lot on the plane. Oh right. I heard you met President Isaac Stern.”
“Yeah. He looked up your background so thoroughly he came to me first. How was it? Did you have a good talk?”
“Yes. I decided to sign with him.”
“Really? I guess you liked him.”
Yoon Kwang Hun did not ask more. Circumstances where he needs to decide and act on his own will increase. Yoon Kwang Hun is thinking that he needs to hold his opinion back more.
“He said that terminating the contract is possible at any time. That’s why I said we should do it. I haven’t thought that I need a management agency yet.”
“Sure. You’ll know if you try it out. If you like it and it’s comfortable, keep doing it. If it’s uncomfortable, terminate it. Oh right, are you hungry? What do you want to eat?”
“Oh. Can you make me a plate of tonkatsu?”
“Yes. I was craving your tonkatsu.”
Yoon Kwang Hun must have already had it all prepared, because he quickly made a plate for Jun Hyuk.
“Are there articles of me?”
Jun Hyuk spoke as he ate it in big bites and quickly emptied the plate.
“Of course. It came up in a few places that you were fired from the Boston Philharmonic. It’s not as noisy as before though. You’re not a star. Ha ha.”
“What? Fired? Not resigned?”
“Well that’s that. Articles need to be negative to sell. They need to make money too.”
Jun Hyuk and Yoon Kwang Hun spent the first day drinking coffee and talking about the Boston Philharmonic.
It is true when people say that children who live far away from home come back to their parents’ homes to spend their time eating and sleeping. He kept feeling hunger and he always felt sleepy. Jun Hyuk forgot about music for the first time in a while and rested for 2 days while eating and sleeping.
When Jun Hyuk lazily opened his eyes, the cafe downstairs was a bit noisy. He decided to stay upstairs because he thought that reporters might have come for him, but he heard laughter and realized that they are not reporters.
Downstairs, Professor Jeon Hye Jin, Fine Philharmonic’s Hwang Suk Min, and Han Ye Ji were exchanging stories about how they know Jun Hyuk.
“Oh? Jun Hyuk. You’re awake?”
“Yes. Hello, Professor.”
Hwang Suk Min bolted up from his seat and held Jun Hyuk’s hand.
“Wow. Jang Jun Hyuk! No. Maestro Jang! Let me hold this hand that’s held the Boston Philharmonic’s baton.”
“Why are you being like this?”
Jun Hyuk tried to take his hand back, but Hwang Suk Min strengthened his grip. His eyes were frozen with jealousy and admiration.
“Hey! Why’d you quit? If Inferno is hard, you should have conducted Beethoven. It’s really a pity.”
“Whew. Stop it Teacher Hwang. Isn’t he a child who has endless opportunities going forward?”
Jun Hyuk bowed to Professor Jeon Hye Jin who had her back turned to him, but he could not remember Han Ye Ji’s name.
“Professor, you’re here as well.”
“Yeah. Mr. Yoon called me when you got here. I was about to run here right away, but held myself back. I thought I should let you have some father son time.”
Even though Professor Jeon Hye Jin said ‘father and son,’ Yoon Kwang Hun and Jun Hyuk did not feel awkward about it.
“Hello, Jun Hyuk.”
“Ah, hello. We met in Salzburg…..”
“Yes. You forgot my name, didn’t you? It’s Han Ye Ji.”
Professor Jeon saw Han Ye Ji smiling and Jun Hyuk scratching his head, took him by the hand and made him sit.
“There there. Now let’s here this movie-like story. From Salzburg to Boston.”
Jun Hyuk told them everything that happened to him over the last 8 months, without leaving anything out. The shock he felt when he heard the Berlin Philharmonic playing the song that even he had forgotten about. Meeting world renowned maestros. And recording in Boston.
When they imagined everything Jun Hyuk was telling them, it really felt like a movie.
“So, how long are you going to stay here?”
“I don’t have anything planned. I just came. I don’t even really have anything to say.”
“What about school? Oh, nevermind. It’d be weird for a guy who conducted for the Boston Philharmonic to go back to school as a student.”
Professor Jeon Hye Jin asked half in worry and half in expectation, but her heart was not at ease. Hwang Suk Min saw her expression and also frowned.
“Goodness. Normally, Korea needs to be in a buzz… It’d be definite for broadcasting stations and newspapers to be praising a 20 year old who was hired to conduct one of the top 5 American symphonies.”
“Well that’s because I came into the country without anyone knowing.”
Hwang Suk Min tsked and shook his head.
“Is that really what it is? I’m pretty sure that even if they know, they’ll write a few lines and that’d be it. Ye Ji. How many articles were there that you came in 6th at the Tchaikovsky Competition? Was it about 100?”
“Teacher, what do you mean 100?”
When the direction was suddenly changed to her, Han Ye Ji was taken aback.
“Teacher Hwang. Why are you being like that to Ye Ji? Stop.”
Professor Jeon Hye Jin knew why Hwang Suk Min is so excited, but she did not want to discuss it anymore.
Hwang Suk Min’s indignation is not because of the press or broadcasting stations. When Professor Jeon Hye Jin heard of Jun Hyuk’s return to Korea, she thought that she must put him on stage in Korea since they do not know when he might come back.
She quietly sounded her thoughts to various people, saying that he should leave something behind in Korea with this opportunity. She made requests to leading symphonies in the country because she thought it would be best for him to conduct, but they were apathetic. They regretfully refused, saying that it would be difficult to change their schedules.
Behind these refusals, it must also be a big part that Jun Hyuk does not have a link to the Korean classical world. It would have been possible to overcome these issues if the press had pushed for Jun Hyuk as a national hero, but even this was impossible because Jun Hyuk had built a wall against the press.
And Amelia was right. To the greats in Korea, Jun Hyuk has nothing in common with them and he is just a rookie who only released 1 song of a new contemporary music format.
Yoon Kwang Hun spoke up in order to get rid of the awkward energy,
“There there. We’re grateful that you care so much, but Jun Hyuk came to rest. Right now is perfect. And… Ye Ji.”
Due to the heavy atmosphere, Han Ye Ji was startled when Yoon Kwang Hun suddenly called out her name.
“What is it? Why are you surprised? Ha ha. It’s nothing. It’s just that I’d like to hear you play the piano. Would it be okay? Korea’s new star pianist is visiting my cafe and I can’t just let you go back. I do often hear that I’m a fanatic of classical music.”
It was already such a heavy atmosphere, so she was taken aback by Yoon Kwang Hun’s sudden request.
“Ho ho. Isn’t the audience too scary? Your teacher, 2 maestros, and Mr. Yoon who raised a genius? You’ll have to do well. Even if you make a slight miss, everyone will figure it out.”
The playful Professor Jeon Hye Jin added this in.
“Just play comfortably for us. I haven’t heard it yet, but really want to.”
Once even Jun Hyuk was chiming in, she could not refuse and sat in front of the piano.
She closed her eyes for a second to choose a song, and then put her hands on the piano. The song she chose is Rondo Alla Turca.