Spending Time With Conductor Myung Hoon Chung

My wife and I just came back from a 5 day vacation in France. My wife has been friends with the wife of renowned conductor Myung Hoon Chung since childhood. She invited us to France so I could help her husband find answers to some of his questions about the Christian faith. He had been asking a lot of spiritual questions lately. Their home is in Povence, in the southern part of France, a 30 minute drive from Marseilles. It was an occasion for us to rest as well as to have discussions on Christian matters.

During the time I was there, I saw a good example of someone who handles success gracefully. Mr. Chung is a truly successful man. He is a conductor in residence for not just one symphony but three: the St. Cecilia Symphony (orchestra for city of Rome), the Tokyo Philharmonic, and Radio France of Paris. He is probably one of top five conductors in the world. But while interacting with him, I could not detect any of the snobbery, elitism or ego issues that are common among successful people.

He is a family man. He prefers to be accompanied by his wife wherever he goes. After concerts, instead of going to parties or meeting with his admirers, he goes directly home to be with his family. Despite being one of the most successful musicians in the world, to him, family is first and music second.

He is also a talented chef. His specialty is Italian food. He has published a cookbook entitled “Maestro Myung Hoon Chung’s Dinner for Eight”. The title includes “for eight” because he wrote this book with this image in mind: him, his wife, and his three sons with their spouses eating around a table, although none of his sons are married yet. He
cooked for us three times a day.

Surprisingly, he was also a humble man. He doesn’t attribute his success to talent or hard work, but says it was “luck”, saying there are others more talented and harder working than himself. He says he owes his success to the fact that he was born in a musically oriented family (he has two sisters who are among the best violinist and cellists in the world) and that he had the privilege to meet many good people who helped him along the way.

He and I talked a lot about the Christian faith. On Sunday, we had a worship service at his home. Just before I left I explained to him how to become a Christian. I did not strongly urge him to accept Christ because like many self-made men it was difficult for him to depend on someone, even God. I told him that accepting Christ meant he must die to himself and live for Christ. It is a serious decision and I wanted him to make that decision on his own.

I have a feeling that he is more ready to accept Jesus because of the days we spent together. If he becomes a Christian he may be like the Apostle Paul, wielding tremendous influence for Christian faith. I ask those who have been praying for this trip to continue to pray for him.

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