Volume 6 / Chapter 204
Pierre Boulez and Jun Hyuk, who had been monitoring the results backstage, clinked their champagne flutes.
“The results show that the judges really tried to reduce the noise. What do you think?”
“I have different thoughts on the ranking, but I don’t have any disagreements on the winners. I think they had plenty of skill for it. It’s just that I was nervous because Danny made a lot of mistakes, but the judges made a bold choice.”
“Danny’s disadvantage was a passive way of playing, but he found a broad attitude through this performance. He’ll grow quickly now.”
While they spoke, the members prepared to go back. The long journey was complete. Everyone looked lighthearted.
“Maestro Jun. I won’t be able to forget this year’s competition for the rest of my life. It was a blessing for our Belgian National Orchestra to premiere such a great piece and to perform with the 21st century Beethoven.”
“It was an honor for me. You did really well, bandmaster.”
Jun Hyuk shook hands with over 100 performers and did not hold back on heartfelt praises.
“Jun. My friends are drinking and waiting. What do you think? Mr. Yoon will be with them too.”
The maestros had begun a party of their own as soon as the competition performance was over. They need to go back to their own cities tomorrow. As it is difficult to all gather in one place, they were going to spend the last night of the competition gaily.
“Sorry. I have something to do… It’s a pity, but I must go home.”
Pierre Boulez tapped Jun Hyuk on the shoulder, who had an uncomfortable expression.
“It’s a pity but it can’t be helped. There are still official events left over, so let’s push our time together back.”
“Yes. I’d like to see you again before I go back to New York.”
“Oh right. You said you’ll be performing with the New York Philharmonic, right?”
“If I can, I’ll try to make time and go.”
“Thank you, Maestro.”
Jun Hyuk went home and Pierre Boulez went to the restaurant where all of the maestros were gathered.
He could only hear Yoon Kwang Hun’s voice in the restaurant with more than 10 maestros.
“Imagine it. A 15 year old kid who has never properly heard classical music, listening to Marlowe’s symphony and immediately memorizing over 100 melodies. It was phenomenal.”
“Goodness. Even if experts could memorize scores, they could never memorize all of them by part…..”
“It’s not just that. He wrote a piano sonata as soon as he started playing the piano. The work that came out after that was Inferno.”
Yoon Kwang Hun was talking about the moment he met Jun Hyuk to each moment he discovered a phenomenal aspect of him, and the maestros were only staring at him as though watching a breathtaking movie.
From Yoon Kwang Hun’s momentum and the maestros’ expressions alone, it felt like this would not end even if they spent all night like this.
“No, bend your knees a little more. Move your hands a little more rhythmically and graciously.”
“This is driving me nuts. I didn’t know I’d have to express elegance with my body. The piano would be easier.”
“Stop grumbling and try it again.”
Jun Hyuk had to keep moving his wrist as though conducting. Tara taught him how to greet for a while before he spoke to President Stern,
“Isaac. Do I have to do this?”
“Of course. That’s the highlight. He he.”
President Stern kept laughing because he was having fun watching Jun Hyuk comfortable with his awkward movements.
“How about I don’t do it with my schedule as an excuse?”
“What schedule? Even if you really had an urgent schedule, you would have to push it back. A spokesperson for the royal family called directly to ask that you attend.”
President Stern waved his hand to tell Jun Hyuk there is no chance, and did not stop laughing.
“Isn’t the winner’s feast honestly for the old queen who is retired with nothing else to do? It is to sponsor the competition, but it’s just a hobby that the old royalty gets involved in once in a while, isn’t it?”
President Stern laughed while clapping at Jun Hyuk’s sarcastic remark.
“Ha ha ha. Precisely. You want to try saying what you just said in front of the old queen? It’ll become an incredible typhoon that gets rid of your statement on Beethoven at once.”
“My heart isn’t strong enough for that.”
Jun Hyuk started moving his wrists and knees again.
“Then just laugh a bit, take pictures, and eat dinner. Even if they’re a royalty without power, they’re the target of envy in America. If you build up a relationship with them, you’ll stand out in New York social circles.”
European royalty may not have political power, but it is a symbol of tradition. The white immigrant population of America wants to protect the European royal family, from which their ancestors came.
On the day of the feast, Yoon Kwang Hun could not hold back his laughter when he saw Jun Hyuk leaving all dressed up.
“Wow~ This dork’s all grown up. You’re even going to a feast in a European palace. Eat slowly. I heard that it’s going to be an over 10 course meal. Ha ha ha.”
Yoon Kwang Hun spoke as though making fun, but he was laughing to hide his getting choked up. The scruffy little boy who had appeared in front of him is now wearing a clean suit and getting in a limousine. And he’s been born again as the protagonist of a royal family’s feast.
He is proud because it is like seeing Jun Hyuk spread his wings and fly high into the sky in reality.
Victor Hugo called Brussels’ Grand Palace the most beautiful plaza in the world, and it was designated one of 3 European plazas as UN World Heritage Sites in 1998.
As though showing off the splendor of when Brussels was once a trading center in Europe, the plaza is surrounded in late 17th century Gothic and Baroque style buildings.
The beautiful buildings created when city government building and king’s palace, Royal Palace, and Brussels Province of Brabant were the capital of Brussels, excluding Duke Brabant’s house are merchant guild houses. This shows that it was one the 4th largest trading country.
Jun Hyuk’s car went past the guards at the Royal Palace’s front door and into the palace. The inside of the palace, decorated in the style of the Versailles Palace in the Louis dynasty by Leopold II, also acted as a museum displaying royal relics and collections.
When Jun Hyuk entered the banquet hall called the ‘Throne Hall’ with a crystal chandelier hanging on its high ceiling, the 20 finalists of each part and the competition committee members had glasses in their hands as they were hanging out.
Danny discovered Jun Hyuk, quickly ran over to him, and was about to hug him when he stopped. He cannot make a crease in Jun Hyuk’s clothes when he has dressed up so well for the first time in a while.
“Danny, congratulations on the win. Be proud of it because the performance really was great enough to win.”
“Jun, thanks so much. I keep owing you.”
“Good. Don’t ever forget it. He he.”
Danny did not let go of his hands, looked him up and down, and whistled.
“Jun. Oho – You look good. You look like a runway model.”
“Stop talking nonsense. Do you by chance know the etiquette for places like this?”
“I know to a certain extent because my family is French, but there’s not much to it. Oh right. Eat slowly. It’s really embarrassing if you finish eating first.”
“Great. You stay right next to me. Let me know quietly if there’s anything I need.”
Danny chuckled as he watched Jun Hyuk, full of tension. He realized why he had told him to stay next to him.
“He he. That’s not up to me. The seating arrangements have already been decided for the banquet hall.”
“Damn it. What is this? We should just sit wherever and eat. They’re assigning seats?”
“I don’t think that’s the problem. I heard in passing that you’re at the same table as the Queen. You and Maestro Boulez.”
Danny watched Jun Hyuk’s blank face and laughed.
“It’s a given that the conductors sit at the highest seats.”
When Jun Hyuk turned pale, the finalists gathered to him. Everyone knows that the most important person here is not the old Queen or Maestro Boulez.
Before participating in the competition, Jun Hyuk was just a young composer who wrote one innovative song of modern music. He has now become the 21st century Beethoven who shook up the competition.
Everyone who had said that he was a competitor because of his age now completely erased those thoughts. They fully recognize that from now on, they must wait on this young maestro’s choices.
Jun Hyuk gave belated congratulations to the finalists around him and they complimented each other with the finalists telling him that they are waiting to perform with him again.
Then, people wearing clothes that can be seen in movies came in to escort the people waiting in ‘Throne Hall’ into the banquet hall.
Maestro Boulez pat Jun Hyuk on the back and smiled brightly.
“Jun, don’t be so nervous. Just think of her as a pleasant woman. She’s not as formal as you’d think.”
“She won’t show up wearing a crown, will she?”
“Ha ha. Probably not. If she does, I’ll laugh.”
“Do you know her well?”
“Yeah. Our orchestra always participates in royal events.”
While the two were chatting, Queen Faviola entered wearing a modest dress. Behind her, Queen Mathilda the current king Rudolph II’s wife, came in as well.
“How strange. She doesn’t normally appear at official events.”
“Who? Are you referring to that young woman?”
“Yeah. She’s the current Queen of Belgium, Mathilda.”
The 21 finalists walked to the front of the banquet hall as they were told to do from the royal’s staff. The two queens exchanged greetings with each of the 21 finalists. Queen Faviola spoke words of congratulations while Queen Mathilda only followed her quietly.
The finalists lightly touched their lips to their white gloves, the queens met eyes with the finalists and held both of their hands, before passing by.
The young queen who had only smiled as she walked by, stopped in front of Jun and called him by his name.
“Yes, your majesty.”
“I saw the broadcast on TV, but your conducting was really surprising. I would like to see you perform for myself one day.”
“It’s an honor.”
Jun Hyuk recalled the elegant hand gestures he learned yesterday, and politely bowed.
When the two queens sat at their table, the finalists also went back to their seats.
Queen Faviola stood up and held her champagne glass high.
“First, congratulations to all 21 finalists who received high scores in the Queen Elisabeth Competition. And…..”
Once the queen’s toast was over, the food started to come out. Jun Hyuk did not say a word because of the two queens at his table. Instead, he just ate slowly to the pace of other people eating.
He needed to avoid the mistake of eating hurriedly and ending up done with his meal before anyone else. Did Yoon Kwang Hun say that there would be 10 courses? When he thought that nearly all of the food had come out, he started to relax. It is almost over.
“Maestro Jun, you aren’t talking very much.”
Jun Hyuk had been keeping his head down but bolted upright when the young Queen Mathilda addressed him.
“When I heard your performance, full of such passion and madness, I felt a thrill that sent chills through by body. Meeting you in person, I can’t believe you conducted like that because you’re so quiet.”
“Your majesty, Maestro Jun’s true self comes out when he is standing on the podium or in front of an instrument. This shy image is fake. Ha ha.”
Pierre Boulez spoke in jest instead of Jun Hyuk, who was too taken aback to speak.
“Oh right. The Queen said that she was upset because she heard the music of all performers except one.”
The committee head, sitting at the same table, spoke as she looked at Jun Hyuk.
What is this out of the blue? There’s no way? Jun Hyuk took a sip of his water.
“Maestro Jun, I heard that you’re an outstanding pianist. Can we hear you play?”
Queen Mathilda spoke to Jun Hyuk as if she had been waiting for this. It seems to be a script well carried out by the committee head and queen. Jun Hyuk waved his hand as he spoke,
“There are 6 amazing pianists here. I won’t because I don’t have the confidence to give you a better performance. I might ruin the feast.”
It was as though time had stopped at the table. The darkness was spreading to the next table. The committee head’s face had turned sheet white. Even Pierre Boulez, who had been relaxed and laughing, coughed.
No one had expected that Jun would reject the queen’s request.
‘What? Did I make another mistake?’