Hwang Suk Min also looked regrettable and could not hide it on his face. A child who should have become a world-renowned pianist became like this due to his environment.
“What if he had met a proper teacher at a young age and was able to perform freely instead of imitating others? By now, he would have been world-class, recognized internationally. He would have made people like Lang Lang and Yuja Wang jealous.”
“Professor, is it too late?”
“Late? It’s already impossible. Assessing on skill only, he’ll hear that he’s a pretty great pianist now. But world-class is impossible. A pianist who lacks, no does not have originality, cannot stand on the top.”
Does not have originality? Hwang Suk Min thought of when he played Shin Hae Chul’s song for the first time with his orchestra. He had thought that it could never be a copy with the wild ferocity that was unleashed occasionally. However, his thoughts were cut off at Professor Jeon Hye Jin’s continued words,
“The bigger issue is ‘self-education’.”
“You studied composition and command, so you may not have felt it as much. But does a wall not exist just because we can’t see it? In this world, there’s an invisible wall that hits the sky high. Especially in the world of pianos, which are the king of instruments and violins, the protagonists of orchestras.”
A high, invisible wall that exists in the world of classical. Hwang Suk Min could vaguely understand what Jeon Hye Jin was talking about.
“Pianists must go through competitions. They’re showing themselves to the world through these competitions. If you look at world-renowned pianists now, they all put forth their wins first.”
Professor Jeon Hye Jin pointed to herself as she spoke,
“Look at me. I still make a living off of coming in 3rd place in the Long Thibaud Competition in 1975.”
She was not bragging, but rather there was a hint of self-chastising.
“Competitions are decided by judges, not fan votes.”
Strict judges of nations the competitions are held in. Fairness was in the titles that these judges held. Impressive careers and positions were important in making sure people had no choice but to recognize them as judges. However, it was difficult to believe that the judges’ assessment methods were based on the pianists’ ‘skills’ only.
“Do you think they’ll advance a child who was self-educated without a teacher? If a child who taught himself wins, won’t the word ‘lesson’ become meaningless? If I have talent, I don’t need lessons! This is something that can’t be said no matter what. The people controlling the world of piano will have their positions shaken or taken away if there are no lessons.”
This is not something that is only applicable to the world of piano. Vested interests that exist everywhere do not welcome collapse.
“Piano makers, whatever printer selling the scores that pour out, university reputations, the recording industry, sponsors and their nations. The pandemonium of all of these combined is what creates competitions. Piano is just a part of the business anyway.”
It was hard for Hwang Suk Min to understand the pandemonium Jeon Hye Jin spoke of. He is just an average person who does not have the skills to enter the world of this pandemonium.
“But to recognize a child who appeared out of nowhere? It can’t happen. That’s denying the business itself.”
If Jun Hyuk were to be recognized in the world of piano, it would mean talent is everything. There was no need to practice with a good piano and there was no reason to get lessons from eminent pianists. University? With countless people who prove their talent with self-education, those who pay the expensive tuition to attend university are admitting that they do not have talent.
Recognizing a genius with born talent could make all of this collapse at the same time. Geniuses are only recognized when they shine because of direction they have received. Denying the industry itself is something that cannot happen.
“And he says that becoming a pianist isn’t his dream so… I guess it doesn’t matter.”
Professor Jeon Hye Jin took a glance at Jun Hyuk who had been listening to their conversation.
“If he does decide to put everything into piano now… he’s good enough that any great pianist will want to work with him… so I guess it could be possible. If he works hard under a famous person for about 5 years, I do think the possibility is sufficient. But will that be necessary? He’ll become a huge star if he does pop music, so will it be necessary to go through all the hard work?”
“But still, isn’t it such a waste?”
“I don’t think it’s such a waste with the cameras that are already on him and seeing our students fawn over him. There are many paths. Right now, it’s important that he does music. If it’s his path, it’ll happen somehow.”
Not everyone expects the spotlight just because they have the talent. Professor Jeon Hye Jin had seen many people who had born talent but turned off the light because their environment or first step had gone wrong. The fate resulting from time and place. Without that, it would just be a degenerated light.
However, Jun Hyuk had already put his foot in music. It seemed he was going to continue in music no matter what.
Honestly, Professor Jeon Hye Jin thought Jun Hyuk a waste. His age was most regrettable. Age 17 was the time to bloom in the world of piano. Rumors of identity begin and one must prepare to come out to the world.
It is to the point where the most famous competition in the world, Poland’s Chopin Piano Competition, opens once every 5 years. Even people with luck were only given two opportunities.
“Before you go, leave me your signature.”
“My daughter goes nuts about celebrities. I’m going to give it to her.”
Jeon Hye Jin winked as she laughed. She had returned as a playful old woman from a strict pianist and professor.
Jun Hyuk gained courage from this friendly appearance to ask a question,
“But do you play the piano well?”
“Me? You don’t know who I am?”
Jeon Hye Jin was so taken aback that she was speechless. This kid who had done everything she told him to do had not know who she was?
“No. I don’t have a CD. I just assumed you’re the best because Teacher Hwang said you are.”
Jun Hyuk did not want to leave like this. He had never heard Jeon Hye Jin’s piano, but he thought that she would be incredible from the way she had been so shrewd until now.
“I’m famous! My concert ticket power is 1st place in our country for piano. And… how much does a CD cost that you didn’t buy mine? This inconsiderate kid. Ho ho.”
Jeon Hye Jin laughed heartily and approached Jun Hyuk.
“Very well. I’ll play too since I did hear yours for free.”
Professor Jeon Hye Jin sat in front of the piano and began to play the 2nd part of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata Pathetiqe No. 8. This is a sonata that Beethoven named, “Grande Sonate Pathetique”. The 2nd part is characterized by a relaxed and beautiful melody, and it is often seen as one of this most solemn and alluring pieces. It was used often in popular music with its short and sturdy configuration.
Britain’s mezzo-soprano singer, Louise Tucker, arranged this into a pop song ‘Midnight Blue’, which was received well by the public.
“How was it?”
When Professor Jeon Hye Jin winked as she laughed, Jun Hyuk put his thumb up.
“Yes. Your force is awesome.”
“What? This isn’t a song that uses strength. Why do you say my force is awesome when I played this delicately and gently?”
“No matter how beautiful a knife is, you can’t hide how sharp it is. I think your strength will show even if you played a lullaby. Sleeping babies will all wake up.”
“Ho ho. You’re able to see all of that at once? Huh. Thinking about it again, it is a waste.”
Jun Hyuk could guess what the professor meant was being wasted. He had listened to the entirety of their conversation. He could fully understand that there were complicated issues involved in his becoming a pianist. And he did not have a particular longing to become a pianist.
“It’s okay if I don’t become a pianist. Instead, if I make a proper piano song, I’ll think of you as the first performer.”
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