Volume 6 / Chapter 207
“Hey. Isn’t this a waste of space? The apartment is too big.”
Yoon Kwang Hun yelled as soon as they opened the door to Jun Hyuk’s New York apartment. Even the apartment he lived in when he was at his peak was just a small one-bedroom compared to this place.
“That’s what I think too. President Stern brings a ton of people to throw a party sometimes. There’s nothing we can do.”
“Parties? What parties? Are they like the parties we see in movies?”
Yoon Kwang Hun gulped as his eyes trembled.
“You just imagined something weird, didn’t you? Playboy cover girls… Huh? Ke ke.”
“This isn’t Hollywood. A lot of women do come, but they aren’t models. Most of them are industry people.”
Jun Hyuk pushed a Yoon Kwang Hun full of disappointment into an empty room.
“First, rest. We have to go out for dinner. We might be meeting Maestro Dimitri Carras of the New York Philharmonic.”
“Right. I’ll have to take comfort in that.”
Yoon Kwang Hun threw his bag on the ground and was about to go to sleep when his phone rang.
– Mr. Yoon. I didn’t intrude when you were about to rest, did I?
“Oh, no. It’s alright.”
– Then will you contact Korea for me? If there’s a paper or station that wants to interview Jun Hyuk, tell them to call us at Stern Corporation. I’ll text you the contact information for the manager. And we’re thinking of holding the interview in about a week.
“Alright. I’ll tell Jun that as well.”
Yoon Kwang Hun hung up the phone and remembered what Jun Hyuk had said. Though he is over 70 years old, he is a lively old man who never rests.
“Ugh fuck. Are you guys crazy! I can’t believe this.”
K broadcast newsroom culture reporter Kim Jong Man looked at his mail and cursed.
“Hey. What is it that you’re cursing this early in the morning?”
“Manager Park, I got an e-mail from Jang Jun Hyuk’s management agency. I’m speechless.”
“What? You got an e-mail? What did they say? When will he do the interview?”
Manager Park ran to reporter Kim Jong Man’s desk to read the e-mail on his monitor.
“The date is a week later. Apparently, they’re holding a joint press conference at the Hudson Hotel in New York. They’re only taking the Korean press by broadcast.”
Manager Park did not finish reading the e-mail and tapped the back of Kim Jong Man’s head.
“Hey! Are you joking? What joint press conference? I told you to go get an exclusive.”
“Listen to the rest. The joint press conference is 20 minutes. Pictures are allowed. Recording is also allowed. They said no recording with a camera.”
Reporter Kim Jong Man rubbed the back of his head and talked about the rest of the e-mail.
“Then what about the exclusive interview? There isn’t one?”
“There is. The presidential suite of the Hudson Hotel. Camera recording is okay and 40 minutes. No questions about when he used to wander as a orphan. The interviewer needs to be someone who knows classical well.”
“Then it’s done. What’s the problem?”
“They’re telling us to pay for the exclusive interview. $20,000.”
“Hm… How many stations do you think there are that want to record an interview with Jun Hyuk?”
Manager Park was surprised at the $20,000 amount for a moment, but he immediately started thinking about the competitors.
“3 national broadcasting stations. The small cable channels won’t be trying to spend money to get an interview when they barely have any money… The big 3 cable channels. There will be about 6.”
One of the culture news reporters counted them off on his fingers.
“Hey. Send a response. $150,000 for 1 hour. Ask for an exclusive for our station.”
“What? Sir! $150,000?”
“You talk too much. Just do as I say.”
Reporter Kim Jong Man needed to rub the back of his head again.
“Why would Jun Hyuk do an interview for free? To promote his performance with the New York Philharmonic? How many people in Korea do you think will go to see him conduct?”
Manager Park spoke to all of the reporters.
“You don’t know that Hollywood stars get paid when they’re not promoting movies?”
“But isn’t it still a bit too much?”
Reporter Kim Jong Man was still complaining and murmured carefully just in case Manager Park’s hand came flying again.
“Too much? This guy here is too uptight.”
“What? Sir, what does that mean…”
“Why? Are you jealous that he does an hour-long interview and gets paid over $100,000? Why does how much he makes get you angry? It’s the company’s money. How much do you think we’ll make after paying $150,000? They’re saying he’s the 21st century Beethoven! It’s an exclusive interview with Beethoven. There are going to be tons of advertisements. Think about it.”
Manager Park yelled at the culture news reporters again.
“You guys listen up too. Unless otherwise indicated, you’re all dead if you say anything bad about Jang Jun Hyuk. You know how the nation is feeling about him right now, right? He’s the first kid to be treated as a hero since skater Kim Yu Na. If you leave any marks on him, we’ll be ground to dust. Keep that in mind.”
Kim Jong Man needed to hide his sulking and write the e-mail again, and Manager Park ran to the department office to get approval for spending.
“Hey! Are you crazy? $150,000? You asshole. My salary is only half of that. You want to use all of that in 1 hour? You’re going crazy.”
As soon as Manager Park said the dollar amount, the culture newsroom Director started out by cursing at him. It is a relief that he did not throw anything at him.
“Sir, trust me. I’m telling you this is jackpot.”
“Who doesn’t know that? But $150,000 is too much.”
“Producing a 1-hour drama costs a minimum of $400,000. Do you know how much the fee for an MC of a variety program is? Jun Hyuk is the 21st century Beethoven. And it’s an exclusive interview for 1 hour.”
Manager Park insisted that $150,000 is not that much money by comparing it to the fees of other big shows.
“Are we a drama program? The entertainment station? This is the newsroom. The culture news on top of that. You say something like that when you know how much our cover fees are?”
The Director was about to chase Manager Park out.
“Don’t talk nonsense, and get 40 minutes for $20,000. I’m giving you that $20,000 after a lot of thought too.”
“No. I’m saying we should hand this over to the entertainment station.”
“Yes. The entertainment station has a big budget, so they can handle $150,000. Can’t we just use their material? Press time will only be 2 or 3 minutes at most anyway.”
There is likelihood if it is the entertainment station. The Director’s voice came down a few notches.
“I thought you said no entertainment? No tearful hardship stories, no gossip news. I thought you only have to talk about music? Are you going to do an entertainment segment with a documentary on classical music?”
He did not mention it, but the Director had another concern. He wondered if the entertainment station has an MC who could handle a the depth of an interview with a composer who tossed Beethoven a challenge and succeeded, and is a maestro conducting for the New York Philharmonic.
But Manager Park already looked confident.
“There is a suitable MC. He can easily talk about music alone for an hour and he’s entertaining. Lastly, we have the best weapon. He’s close with Jang Jun Hyuk.”
“What? Close? Does Jang Jun Hyuk have close people in Korea… Oh…”
“He he. What do you think? Isn’t someone like Yoon Jung Su great?”
The culture Director threw the pen he was holding.
“Hey. You should have said that in the first place. Hurry up and get Yoon Jung Su on board before someone else gets him. I’ll contact the entertainment station.”
Yoon Jung Su is plenty. The 1-hour interview could be used in different segments: entertainment, newsroom, and even cultural education. $150,000 was starting to look smaller.
Yoon Kwang Hun prepared a New York Philharmonic CD to get Dimitri Carras’ signature, and was excited to attend dinner.
He became silent after getting a signature and picture, while President Stern and Maestro Carras discussed their schedule.
“The New York Philharmonic committee wants 2 performances. Once in Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center’s private concert hall, and once outside in Damrosch Park.”
“I was going to do both performances outside if it weren’t for the album recording since the capacity is almost doubled.”
Damrosch Park is one of Lincoln Center’s venues, and is 2.4 acre outdoor theater. It is the main stage of New York Fashion Week, that opens twice a year, and the place of the Midsummer Night Swing Festival (June 27 – July 16) with dancing and music.
Maestro Carras was looking at a calendar in his pocket book and checking dates.
“Jun, how many days do you think rehearsals will take? The choral symphony won’t be hard to get together because it’s a regular in the New York Philharmonic’s repertoire.”
“Well it’s the New York Philharmonic. Won’t 1 week be enough?”
“Right? I already started rehearsals once I received your score. We should be able to put it on stage after 2 weeks. Since Danny the violinist already performed, there won’t be any problems there.”
President Stern was reluctant after hearing that the performance would be ready after 1 month.
“But we won’t be able to hold the performance until 2 months pass since there are issues of promotions and album recording. We haven’t even decided on a record label yet.”
“There’s no harm in having plenty of time. Isaac, you and the committee can take care of that issue.”
Dimitri Carras looked at Jun Hyuk again and became serious.
“Everything else is okay, but I haven’t heard your response yet. What do you think? You have no intention of playing the piano?”
“Oh. Is there really a need for me to play the piano? Aren’t there a lot of amazing pianists? They would come swarming with just a phone call from you.”
Jun Hyuk was still dawdling, but Dimitri Carras had been set on him as a pianist for a long time now. Unless there is an unavoidable circumstance such as if he broke his finger, he wants to put Jun Hyuk on stage no matter what.
Beethoven played the piano while he conducted… He did not want to miss out on listening to the composer’s piano.
“Why are you turning it down? I want to perform with the composer’s piano. It’s not like you can’t play the piano or anything. Is there a reason to keep that incredible talent hidden?”
“I’m not hiding it. I just want to hear how you interpret it. I’m scared that if I play, there’ll be a different color to it.”
“Your thinking is opposite to mine. I want to perform with a piano and violin on equal footing. I want to hold a performance that is lively and rough.”
Dimitri Carras showed a lot of confidence. The soloists’ and conductor’s interpretation might be different, but he trusts that the New York Philharmonic will be capable of a great ensemble.
“Then shall we try it out? We have a full 2 months to do it.”
Jun Hyuk’s consent is more welcome to Yoon Kwang Hun than it is to anyone else. He cannot even remember when he last heard him play. And this is a concert with the New York Philharmonic.
“Oh! We get to see Jun as a pianist in Avery Fisher Hall? I’m really anticipating it.”
“Isaac. And Maestro Carras. You can’t say that the performance was ruined because of me. Ha ha.”
Isaac Stern recalled when he first met Jun Hyuk. He had played the piano for Laura Goldberg to sing to at Clayton-Hoffman School of Music’s support association.
A piano that erased himself and highlighted the singing. As soon as Isaac Stern heard that piano, he no longer heard the singing. Once he looked into Jun Hyuk later, he kept hearing that he is a genius composer.
However, Jun Hyuk remains an excellent pianist in Isaac Stern’s mind.