Volume 5 / Chapter 192
Once it became February, Jun Hyuk seemed much more relaxed. Even until January, he had always been brooding in thought. It was hard to talk to him at home, so Tara only watched over him while taking care of his going back and forth between the house and theater.
When that period ended, he joked around and hung out with the orchestra to drink beers after rehearsals.
“I guess you’re satisfied now? You seem much more relaxed.”
“Yeah. All that’s left is getting used to it. Time will solve that. Honestly, I was really surprised. I even think it’s weird that an orchestra with such skilled members has so few albums out.”
“It’ll be because of their repertoire. They mostly do contemporary or experimental music. There aren’t record labels that’ll get involved to release albums that won’t sell.”
There is another reason why the Belgium National Orchestra chooses new music for its repertoire rather than famous songs. They are neighboring Vienna and Berlin. Italy, the home of opera, is not very far either.
It is also a choice to show Belgium’s colors instead of choosing the same repertoire as everyone else and being overshadowed by them.
“The choir is going to join is March. Is that okay? Isn’t it a bit late?”
Tara saw Jun Hyuk in a more relaxed state and came up with a good idea.
“No. The choir is practicing separately with their own conductor. The important thing is the vocal soloist. The choir can practice properly once they have the soloist as well. That part does make me a little nervous because the soloist isn’t decided until the beginning of April.”
“Then that means you have some time until March?”
Tara had a playful look.
Just in case you start working on new songs because you have free time. I’m going to stop you.”
“Will it work to try to stop me?”
Composition happens in his head. Not even Tara can nag about what goes on in his mind.
“Since rehearsals are Tuesday and Thursday, let’s rest a bit from Friday to Monday. I’ll make plans, so you just follow.”
“Leave it to me. You’ll love it.”
Tara’s plans were not very special, but she had very carefully paid attention to the details to create a schedule that would allow Jun Hyuk to see new things.
International high-speed rail Thalys is a very convenient transportation network that connects France, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. As it is a high speed rail that makes the trip from Brussels, Belgium to Paris, France in an hour and a half, they were able to go to most places in 4 days and 3 nights.
Tara took Jun Hyuk to galleries and museums all over Europe to discover works. They also went to clubs and cafes with talented youths who have yet to be discovered, so that Jun Hyuk could be around people his age.
Jun Hyuk enjoyed spending time with young artists, but he did not show as much interest in art as Tara thought he would. Tara thought that Jun Hyuk would be shocked and moved the moment he laid eyes on a masterpiece. Isn’t he the person with such delicate emotions that he even listens to the sound of a single water drop?
She realized that he would not have exceptional talent in all aspects just because he is a genius artist. Jun Hyuk saw the art exhibitions in museums, but he mostly just blinked at them. Fortunately, he did seem to understand Tara’s detailed explanations, but the color was still just paint and the background canvas.
There were the rare works that he looked at for a long time. Tara tried to find what the pieces Jun Hyuk held interest in had in common, but it was so inconsistent that she could not figure it out.
“Why? Do you like this?”
“Yeah. I think it’s more amazing the more I look at it.”
“In what aspect?”
“I don’t know. It’s hard to explain.”
“Then do you want to buy it? You can leave it in your room and continue to enjoy it. This is a new artist’s work, so it isn’t even that expensive.”
Thinking of the money that Jun Hyuk has made, he would be able to buy a painting for tens of thousands of dollars.
“No. It’s enough to just see it once. Is there a need to have it to keep looking at?”
It is what people without interest in art say. But there will come the time when he sees a painting that he wants to keep with him. That moment is when his eyes are opened to paintings.
All he needs is to meet that one piece. With a moment of realization, as soon as he meets the piece his head will go blank and he will be lost in it without a sense for time. After that, his vision for paintings will be completely different.
Tara was excited just thinking about how his music would change once he met such a piece.
“Jun, if you ever find a piece that you want, tell me. I’ll get it for you.”
There was something good in the traveling every week. Whenever he visited the maestros he met in Salzburg in their regions, he would reunite with them.
The maestros were as welcoming as always, and made a fuss to see the score as soon as they heard that he had won the Queen Elisabeth Competition.
Berlin Philharmonic’s current standing conductor, Sarill Petrenko, laughed for a while after hearing that Jun Hyuk had won the competition.
“What is it? I’m sure you didn’t submit something like Inferno. Will the piano and violin finalists be trembling without being able to play?”
“No. This time, it’s a song flowing with the classical. Even you’ll be interested when you see it.”
“I’m fascinated by all of your pieces. I’m just waiting for the day you release all of the songs you made until now.”
Tara shivered a little as she was listening from the side. If Jun Hyuk reveals all of his songs? No – If they could even see it alone before releasing them?
The Queen Elisabeth Competition opened in March and over 300 performance DVDs flew in from all around the world. Unlike previous years, the council received submissions a month earlier and had been advertising since January that the process would be different.
Participants filmed themselves playing or singing in studios and recorded them on DVDs. Each DVD also contained the participants’ earnest desire to have a chance to stand on stage.
The judges chose participants who left such strong impressions that they wanted to listen to them in person. The over 90 people who were chosen boarded trains and planes to Brussels, full of happiness and anxiety.
Among them were Laura Goldberg from Juilliard who professors ensured a winner, and Han Ye Ji who was holding Professor Jeon Hye Jin’s hand tightly.
Danny, Jun Hyuk’s self-designated best friend, also pushed back his tour schedule in Canada and headed to Brussels.
Of the people who passed the preliminary round, only 36 people would be able to stand on stage again. They did their best to show beyond their best in the few minutes that were allotted to them.
However, the god of music only takes the hands of a select portion of the musicians who hold their hands out to it, coldly shaking off the rest. The 12 people from the piano, violin, and vocal parts who the god of music held the hands of. A total of 36 people went to the main stage. Half of these people would go to the last stage.
The Queen Elisabeth Competition is famous for its unique process of having the finalists stay at Brussels Chapelle Conservatory for 9 days and 8 nights. The finalists call this place where they cannot use the internet or their phones and can only eat, sleep, and practice, as a ‘luxury prison’.
The finalists practice one song of choice and one assigned song for 8 days to perform on the 9th day, and a song that they do not know comes out as the assigned snog. It is to see how the performers interpret the score and express the music on their own. This year’s assigned song is the 2nd place song in the composition part, Marlin Oscar Guggenheim IV’s ‘World of Europe’.
The 2nd place song has never before been chosen for the assigned song in the finals. Whether it is because the 2nd place song ‘World of Europe’ is that good or through the power of Austria’s Guggenheim family, it became a controversy for the period.
Until now, the winner had been decided on the 9th day of training through a contest. This time however, only the vocals followed this and for the rest, only 6 finalists would be selected. The last winners would be chosen through Jun Hyuk’s Choral Concerto.