Kinga Augustyn is cleaning her entire apartment right before we speak on the phone.
“I’m a freak when it comes to disinfecting surfaces,” she says.
A violin virtuoso based in New York City, Augustyn has performed at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She won’t set foot in any of them again for a while. In just the past few days, she’s had three months of concerts postponed. After hours of preparation and rehearsals, there will be no performances.
“The world has stopped,” she says, “but the time hasn’t.”
As someone who has a structured routine of practice and exercise, Augustyn focuses on prioritizing her time to the greatest effect. The shutdown of major music venues and event spaces caused by coronavirus is throwing many musicians for a loop.
“Playing the violin is not just a mental activity, but a physical activity,” she says. “I cried when I found out that my routine would be interrupted for who knows how long.”
Augustyn usually goes swimming Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Now the pool is closed.
“I understand we need to isolate, so I understand why the concerts are cancelled. But it’s sad,” she says. “If my concerts are postponed, I can’t pay rent.”
Augustyn is searching for ways to stay afloat financially. She has increased the number of student lessons she offers, although conducting them remotely presents issues.
“My apartment is not an acoustic space, and kids cannot tune their violins,” she says. “Sometimes they drop them.”
Augustyn has been distracting herself with Netflix and a newfound interest in books on quantum mechanics. She is trying to keep her mind at ease.
“I’m taking it step-by-step,” she says. “If I focus on practicing, I’m in my own world and no one can take that away. It’s my comfort zone.”
Lukas Wronski, a violin maker with a shop on 96th Street and Broadway, is a good friend of Augustyn. He is sharing in the music world’s new struggles.
“There’s no work at any level, so it’s very worrying,” he says. “I’m always looking for new customers and now they’re not coming.”
Wronski and Augustyn chat right after our call ends. He says that it’s important for everyone to stick together and support one another.
“We cannot think of only ourselves. we have to think about the group,” he says. “We need solidarity. You never know when a crisis is going to happen. If you need help, reach out.”
I found online a pre-recorded accompaniment to the Wieniawski Romance (from Concerto No. 2). I had to make a few tempo adjustments here and there, but it worked over all. I hope you enjoy ☺️Lukas
Posted by Kinga Augustyn on Wednesday, March 25, 2020