We launched our series, entitled “Quarantine Minutes,” so as not to lose touch with one another even during these difficult times. We spoke with our musicians to hear how they were dealing with their new circumstances in light of the coronavirus epidemic. How have their lives changed? Are they able to find anything positive in their situation? What music do they recommend for you? We hope you enjoy hearing from harpist Ágnes Polónyi.
What music would you recommend for our audiences while they are isolated at home? What do you listen to and what do you like to play to improve your mood?
I imagine our audiences already have developed musical tastes; they know what music they need to unwind and recharge. I am also certain that they are watching the Quarantine Soirées. That said, I would encourage them to use their extra free time to experiment and discover new composers! One of my personal favorites is Takemitsu Toru; his music always carries me to the greatest heights I can imagine. Right now I am practicing an alto flute and harp duet of his (Toward the Sea, the third version). I always devote time to Bach as well.
What do you do in the time you would otherwise have spent with the orchestra? Who do you make music with at home, and how?
Nothing makes up for the time spent with the orchestra; I miss making music together very much, and of course I miss the sense of community. For now, I play music alone at home, but I do so every day: I devote at least 3 hours to practicing. Over the last several years, I have sat by my instrument every night between 6 and 9.
Have you learned anything new during the quarantine? Have you perhaps picked up any new habits?
I don’t think I have learned new things during the quarantine, and I have not picked up any new habits. Rather, I am amazed each day at how we manage to squeeze all the things into our lives that our “normal” lifestyle demands. The truth is that my days still fly by as it is...
What do you miss the most right now?
First, being able to hug my daughter, who is studying in South Korea right now on a scholarship, and will return only in late June. I also very much miss being able to go to the movies or a concert, and seeing my friends. I am also sorry that our late March concerts have been canceled, along with the orchestra’s tours this month. It was a great program that we could not perform; and I also enjoy being on the road.
What do you like about the quarantine?
It is good to try this slower pace of life, and to experience it with my family. I try to make the most of it, and I schedule my days so that for the most part I can do things which I enjoy doing. I am sure there might be far more useful ways of spending these weeks; some people are learning a language, and some are immersing themselves in various hobbies, but for me, the greatest gift is being able to rest. This is something I have not done in at least 25 years! :)
Is there anything in your life you never had time for before, but always wanted to do - and now you’ve been able to try?
No, I do not have particular desires. Apart from the fact, that is, that I would really like my surroundings to be more organized, and I finally have the time to sort through the unnecessary things we have in the house. But only when I feel like it. 😅