Volume 8 / Chapter 269
President Stern’s jaw dropped when he saw the logo and name written boldly on the center’s building.
“I changed the construction a bit. Fortunately, the architects assured me that it wouldn’t be too difficult.”
The music center’s name is not Jun & Stern.
Isaac Stern Center.
When he saw that his name is the only one on the building, he turned his head.
“Why’d you do this? You took your name out?”
“Instead, the large theater’s name is Jun’s Hall. That’s plenty for me. And I’m thinking of making a few centers that only have my name on them. This is too simple, and it isn’t fitting for my name. It needs to be 3 or 4 times bigger than this.”
President Stern did not stop crying even with Jun Hyuk’s joke.
“Alright, let’s go in. Wipe your tears. If Angelina Jolie sees you, she won’t even come near you because she’ll say you’re whining.”
“Angelina Jolie didn’t come. She’s in Spain to film her movie. You think I don’t even know that much?”
Jun Hyuk looked at the back of President Stern’s head as he stole tears, and pushed him to the Isaac Stern Center.
“I knew it. Why did you make the opening ceremony earlier when construction isn’t even done yet?”
The small theaters inside the center are still covered in white cloth.
“The large theater is done. And the banquet halls and facilities like cafes are complete. Only 3 medium and small theaters are left, so it’s fully functioning.”
President Stern looked disgruntled, but Jun Hyuk laughed.
“We’re going to clear the white cloth away when the guests arrive. No one will notice. Why are you being like this when you like it?”
President Stern sounded uncomfortable. He wanted to see the center in its complete state.
“If you can say for sure that you’ll live 4 more months, I’ll cancel it.”
“4 months? That’s going to be a little hard. He he. Oh right. You can’t cancel. Didn’t you say the president is coming as well?”
“Yes. He should have arrived at JFK right about now. But I was really surprised. I never imagined that you knew the President.”
“Know him? I don’t. I’ve never met the President. And the President is a Democrat. I’m a Republican supporter. I don’t even like him.”
President Stern frowned. He is remembering the Republic loss during last year’s elections.
“But why is he attending?”
“I heard he’s a big fan of yours. I heard that he loves your piano sonata in particular. The President himself plays the piano a bit as well. Oh right, I heard that he was after rumors of your piano playing skills. He wants to hear it for himself.”
“There’s nothing you don’t know for someone who is staying in a hospital ward.”
“You’re the only one who doesn’t know. The President said this a few times during interviews. He was hoping you would hear. He he.”
Jun Hyuk giggled for President Stern to hear.
“It’s a pity. He he.”
“I don’t have the right to vote because I’m not an American citizen.”
President Stern realized that Jun Hyuk was unable to vote for the President, and clapped in joy. He headed to the banquet hall like a child.
When he entered the banquet hall, President Stern’s old friends were waiting for him. Many maestros including New York Philharmonic’s Dimitri Carras surrounded him and congratulated him.
Their sadness did not show in their faces and they treated him as the healthy and lively Isaac Stern instead of an old man.
The VIPs began to gather in the banquet hall one by one. Hollywood stars came in with Director Martin Scorsese, Al Pacino, and Robert DeNiro at the lead, with New York’s mayor and senator following behind.
When Belgium’s Queen Mathilda entered however, they were all pushed to the edge. Queen Mathilda gave President Stern a light kiss on the cheek, congratulated him on the opening, and went to Jun Hyuk.
Jun Hyuk put his lips to the back of the queen’s hand, and the queen whispered quietly into Jun Hyuk’s ear.
“If you want, you can create your own concert hall in Brussels in Belgium. Think about it.”
She is clearly confessing that she is Jun Hyuk’s fan. When Jun Hyuk was about to thank her, it became noisy outside the banquet hall.
President of America, Butler, was walking into the hall faster than his bodyguards.
He smiled wide when he discovered Jun Hyuk and tried to run over to him, but his secretary general whispered to him, making him quickly change his steps.
“Mr. Stern, congratulations. This is the first time I’ve been in such an incredible music hall. Now, the Isaac Stern Center will represent New York instead of Lincoln Center.”
“My body is not well as you can see, so I’m sorry that I cannot get up, Mr. President.”
“It’s nothing. I hope you recover quickly.”
President Butler could guess just from President Stern’s expression that he is an ardent Republican.
“Oh, my Maestro. We finally get to meet.”
The President held Jun Hyuk’s hand tight and did not let go, bursting out in laughter.
“I’m asking in advance, but will you attend the White House year end Christmas dinner party?”
“I heard you’re supposed to spend Christmas with your family.”
“Of course your entire family needs to come with you.”
The President hugged Jun Hyuk and whispered to him,
“I could step down from my presidency right now if I could play a piano duet with you, Maestro.”
The President is such a fan that he wants to play the piano with Jun Hyuk.
Jun Hyuk, President Stern, the President, New York’s mayor and senator, Belgium’s Queen Mathilda, and New York Philharmonic’s Dimitri Carras cut the tape and the President’s speech followed.
He talked about Isaac Stern’s devotion behind the maestros and ended by appreciating Jun Hyuk’s hard work.
“….. Now instead of going to Avery Hall to listen to Beethoven, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky, we can come here to the Isaac Stern Center to appreciate newer and unconventional masterpieces. Maestro Jun will be waiting for you as someone who will leave greater footsteps than Beethoven, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky left behind.”
Isaac Stern went up onto the dais after the President’s introduction.
“I’m telling you in advance President, but I did not vote for you during last year’s elections. But my mind is changing now. If you run again during the next election, I will give you my vote. Oh right. I don’t think think I’ll be alive until then.”
Not only the guests, but the President laughed loudly.
Isaac Stern started his speech as a joke, but ended by showing his gratefulness and praise for Jun Hyuk.
“… It is meaningless that Maestro Jun is of Korean nationality. It is also meaningless that he is living in New York. It is meaningless that he is Asian. He is an earthling and a true Santa Claus, giving a gift to all mankind.”
President Stern gestured to Jun Hyuk with his hand, and applause exploded.
“Humanity needs to repay him. There are now 2 things that mankind needs to protect and guard. It is the Earth and Maestro Jun.”
It was the only part of President Stern’s speech that was made known through the media.
Jun Hyuk became something that all of mankind needs to protect.
The first program of the opening ceremony was the documentary on Jun Hyuk that Martin Scorsese made. The documentary filmed the entire process of creating the opera ‘Godfather,’ and it was interesting that they could get a glimpse into Jun Hyuk’s process of making music.
The improv performance in a small cafe in particular was enough to bring out the audience’s admiration because even if they could not understand, the rhythm characteristic of Italian caused fine changes in expression and buried a page of a score.
Jun Hyuk had been watching the documentary from box seats on the 2nd floor for more than 10 minutes before he slowly stood up.
“Why? Where are you going?”
“It’s weird to see myself on such a big screen. I’ll be in the studio until it’s over.”
Jun Hyuk went down to the empty studio, put a few pages of sheet music on the desk, and looked at them for a moment.
‘Should 10 songs be enough?’
The sheet music began to be filled with notes. After about 1 hour, Jun Hyuk looked over the scores again and smiled satisfied.
When Jun Hyuk left the studio and went back to the large theater, the documentary was nearly over. A few scenes from the opera were going by rapidly on the screen.
“Did Amelia go somewhere?”
“To prepare to perform. She’s probably backstage.”
“Then I’ll go prepare as well.”
Jun Hyuk held Isaac Stern’s hand tightly and then left the box seats. Amelia and the orchestra were chatting backstage.
“Jun, where did you go?”
“The studio. When is the documentary over?”
“The R/T is 90 minutes, so it should be over soon.”
Jun Hyuk kissed Amelia lightly on the cheek and walked toward the orchestra.
“This is your first performance. How do you feel?”
The orchestra felt light excitement and tension, but they looked bright and did not seem to feel uneasy.
“I’m not sure. Somehow, I feel more comfortable than I did during rehearsals with you, Maestro. Ha ha.”