Volume 6 / Chapter 219
Sponsored: James W. & Fletcher P. & Chimemerie
“It’s hard to know whether the young maestro is smart or was born with sense.”
“Will you go into more depth?”
One critic could not hide his excitement as he spoke into a microphone that a reporter held to his mouth.
“You saw the audience today, right? It was mostly filled with youths. These vigorous youths react with their bodies first. They are not uncomfortable with the young maestro’s interpretation that undressed Beethoven. They reacted to the dramatic and fierce melody first.”
“How about how he undressed Beethoven?”
“You didn’t feel it? Today’s choral symphony is not Ode to Joy. He showed the rude and arrogant Beethoven. We’ve gone back in time 200 years to see Beethoven for ourselves. Ha ha.”
There were a lot of different evaluations. There were people saying, ‘The most rude and arrogant of thousands of performances of choral symphony’, a style of ‘malignity’ that overburdened Beethoven, and that it showed him as a ‘rebel’ of the time.
Jun Hyuk smiled as he looked at the New York Philharmonic members who could not hide their excitement. Their expressions were a praise that touched him more than the audience’s fierce tribute had.
“Maestro. I’ve been playing the violin for 30 years, but I felt like I had gone back to my younger days. I don’t know how long it’s been since I’ve played with passion rather than emotion and my head…..”
“That passion was relayed to me. It was an incredible performance.”
Bandmaster Samuel Gilberto could not hide the flush in his cheeks and embraced Jun Hyuk warmly. While he was speaking with the orchestra including the bandmaster, the maestros encircled him.
“That performance was meant to completely undress Beethoven, right? Looks like you’ll be hearing some bitter feedback tomorrow.”
“Well, what of it? Aren’t they critics who only say negative things anyway? It was work that someone needed to go at least once. Is this one of those things that’s only possible when you’re young? Ha ha.”
A factor that is considered important when interpreting a song is the background of the song’s birth or the situation that the composer was in. The composer’s thoughts and psychological state, according to the circumstances, are bound to be firmly buried in the song.
Of Mozart specialists, there are many who perform his light works with expressions of anxiety and restlessness. Though he created a light melody for the public, they are trying to show his thoughts precisely. He always craved love and recognition, and had to go around borrowing money because of his difficult economic situation.
The foundation of today’s performance had shown, not just Beethoven’s feelings, but his inner conflicts. There will be a lot of people who are uncomfortable with the fact that Jun Hyuk has dragged the malignant Beethoven down to the position of average people.
“What does the conductor’s intent matter? You all saw how the audience reacted. We’ll know when the album comes out. I’m positive it’ll see tremendous sales. Judged on music alone, it’ll be able to show that it was the most passive aggressive rendition of choral symphony performed in the past 10 years.”
The party backstage was not long. There is still the outdoor concert in Damrosch Park. The real party will open after the performance tomorrow.
Danny’s agent shouted gleefully at the endless calls. Planners who saw today’s performances were asking to meet for all types of performances, including solo concerts and collaborations.
Stern Corporation employees kept receiving calls as well. Even though it was late, they were asking about Jun Hyuk’s future plans and showing their interest in preparing a concert.
The people gathered in Jun Hyuk’s apartment were celebrating the end of a successful concert with wine.
“You… Is this why you prevented me from seeing the rehearsals? Honestly, it’s not my style. I like solemn and holy symphonies.”
“If Mr. Yoon had been a critic, we would have had a scathing review.”
Isaac Stern laughed at Yoon Kwang Hun’s sullen words.
“Of course. How should I put it… It’s like he took a noble relic from the depths of a museum and decorated it in a department store window?”
“It almost sounds like a compliment?”
Amelia put her arm around Jun Hyuk’s shoulder and interpreted Yoon Kwang Hun’s evaluation differently.
“No no. It’s not bad criticism, but it’s more so not a compliment.”
“Aren’t you saying that it was a performance that anyone could approach, not just those who love classical music? That’s a compliment.”
While everyone laughed and enjoyed the aftertaste of the concert, an employee went to President Stern and whispered in his ear. His eyes widened.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. They are saying that they will send a formal offer.”
“Did someone from them come to today’s performance? I didn’t see anyone.”
“Because so many maestros attended today… They say he was secretive so no one would see. They wouldn’t have wanted to get caught up in unnecessary rumors.”
When President Stern’s expression grew serious, everyone stopped their conversations and looked at him.
“Oh, something came up… Jun, can you come with me for a moment?”
President Stern glanced at Jun Hyuk and went up to the 2nd floor bedroom.
“It’s actually something we could announce in front of anyone, but I wanted to be sure. I want to hear your honest thoughts.”
President Stern is being conscious of Yoon Kwang Hun. He is someone who has a great influence over Jun Hyuk’s decisions. He already knows that Jun Hyuk is willing to force himself to do something if it is what Yoon Kwang Hun wants.
“What is it? It’s been a while since I’ve seen such a serious expression.”
“I just got a call that Seattle Symphony wants you.”
“What? Seattle? But, what do they want from me?”
“They want to leave Seattle Symphony to you for 2 years.”
Jun Hyuk was speechless. It is not a one-time special concert. 2 years is a short period, but his first thought was that it is a reckless decision to leave an orchestra to him when he does not even have a career to speak of.
“The music director position with Seattle Symphony is vacant right now. They’re rotating through guest conductors, hm… It could be that your character as a guest conductor is strong since they’ve set 2 years for now.”
Jun Hyuk was finally able to speak.
“But why me? I don’t have the experience… I’ve conducted twice. Isn’t that all?”
“My guess is… Since Seattle has a strong progressive tendency, they’ll think of that as nothing. They could have looked solely at ability rather than experience and achievements, and there will be something to the show business aspect of it.”
Jun Hyuk did not know what he meant by show business.
“Truthfully, their situation isn’t good right now… Concert and album sales are at a low. It wasn’t a bad decision for them since they are the friendliest neighborhood to Asians. From Queen Elisabeth Competition to today, you’re at the center of news.”
Seattle is where Starbucks was first created. It is where guitar hero Jimi Hendrix was born and the place alternative rock legend Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain chose for his tragic death.
The exhibitions change every month at the Seattle Museum, but the Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix corners stay the same even now.
“And there’s a good condition. They’ll leave the repertoire entirely to you and not interfere with that. I thought that’s a definite, but there’s another meaning to it. It means you can put whatever songs you’ve made or what you’re going to make from now on, on that stage.”
President Stern thought that it was an incredible condition that Jun Hyuk would be able to put whatever song he wants to on stage. But, Jun Hyuk did not look happy or excited.
“Take your time to think about it since it’s not urgent.”
“Isaac, what do you think?”
“Me? Is my opinion necessary? It’s important what you think.”
“If you don’t hurry up and tell me, the empty end date on our contract is going to be filled with today’s date. You would have started making some money too. Ha ha.”
Jun Hyuk joked as he laughed.
“Well well. You only say the scariest things. Ha ha.”
President Stern laughed and became serious again.
“It’s not a bad idea to go to Seattle if you think of the Seattle Symphony as an instrument that you can tune up.”
“But the contract term is just 2 years?”
“The 2 years in a first contract is meaningless. It’s not a term that they mean to keep no matter what?”
“What? It’s not the contract term?”
“Yeah. I’m sure the 2 years doesn’t mean that they’ll say bye to you after 2 years. It’s their demand for you to bring out some kind of result within 2 years. There’ll be an extension if there are results. They’ll be saying bye if there are none.”
“So, the Seattle Symphony is assessing me.”
“Right. If the results are unbelievably great, they might try to get you to stay on for another 10 years on the next contract. If you bring end game results, it won’t be hard for them to hand over a lifetime contract.”
Results he could accomplish in 2 seasons. Breakthrough success in concert and album sales, and raising the orchestra’s level. This is what he needs to show them.
“Anyway, the important part of the contract isn’t the term but the details. Aren’t things like your salary, vacations, house, and car more important to you? I’ll take care of it.”
Making the Seattle Symphony into my own instrument.
Jun Hyuk thought about the meaning of this thoroughly. He would become the owner of an orchestra, the greatest, grandest, and diverse instrument in the world.
“An orchestra’s fame and level are almost entirely dependent on the conductor. The reason why Seattle is so criticized now is because they haven’t had a good conductor in a while and the members’ dissension is great.”
Since an orchestra changes drastically according to the standing conductor, it only takes moments to plummet if it does not meet a good owner.
“Then, does that mean I can reject if I don’t need an instrument of my own?”
President Stern’s eyes sparkled.
“Of course. To work with something that’s not even mine for 2 years? The difficult part is going through all of the hard work to make them useful.”
“I see. Then, reject it for me.”
“Really? I see you aren’t after a standing conductor position yet?”
President Stern was not surprised by Jun Hyuk’s rejection, and seemed to welcome it.
“Yes. I would rather experience orchestras right now. Oh, I guess that doesn’t go the way I want it to either.”
“Leave it to me. I’ll let you get experience until you’re bored of it. There’s going to be a line of orchestras who want to work with you from now on.”
President Stern did not want to leave Jun Hyuk tied up in one place as a conductor. He wanted to let him be free until his shining talent was known all around the world.
“And there’s one more thing I’d like to ask for.”
“I won’t be conducting choral concerto from now on.”
“What? Why? Do you know how many places want the composer’s conducting?”
President Stern jumped back surprised and Jun Hyuk laughed as he spoke,
“I already conducted it with the Belgian National Orchestra and performed as a pianist. That’s enough. I’m more curious as to how other maestros express my music. I think that more, especially, after hearing Maestro Carras’ concert today.”
President Stern looked at Jun Hyuk and burst out laughing.
“Alright. I guess it won’t be bad to put your work out to the world and see how it changes either.”
President Stern stood up. He fully understood Jun Hyuk.
“Then rest. I’ll be going. It’ll be good to go to sleep early since there’s the concert tomorrow. You’ll need an acoustic check and rehearsal since it’s an outdoor performance.”
When President Stern left, everyone went to bed. The concert is not over yet. The real party will open tomorrow.
“Jun. What did you and Isaac talk about?”
Amelia asked cautiously as she dug deeper into Jun Hyuk’s embrace. She is more curious as to why President Stern did not announce it.
“Huh? Oh, it was nothing. He said the Seattle Symphony got in contact to sign a 2-year contract with me.”
“What? Seattle? Goodness! So? Did you say okay?”
“No, I rejected it.”
Amelia was so surprised she bolted up in bed.
“Why? Isn’t it every conductor’s dream to have an orchestra of his own? Even though it’s only 2 years, you don’t know what might happen after.”
“Hm… It hasn’t been long since I started playing orchestras as an instrument. I want to get more experience. And Isaac is someone who can support me in the experiences I want. There’s still a lot of time left.”
Amelia stared at Jun Hyuk.
“What is it? You’re gaining more confidence by the day. Great. You have to have his much confidence if you’re Amelia’s boyfriend.”
Amelia laughed and laid in Jun Hyuk’s arms again.