“This is more than just making music – this is a true mission!” said Budapest Festival Orchestra harpist Ágnes Polónyi, describing the indescribable for us. What is Community Week? If you were not quite sure, all will be revealed now. Please enjoy Ági’s personal observations – and please come out to see the chamber music formations from the orchestra, performing around the country between 9 and 14 April!
“I have known ever since I was a little girl that I wanted to be a musician. Because making music is good. It makes you whole, and it takes you to a world where I’ve always wanted to be. Early in my teens, I pondered whom I would benefit by becoming a musician. Because a doctor makes people better, which is useful. But what does music give others? What does it give to society? To people? And then, somehow, life still led me down this road. Somehow, things always pointed in this direction…
The truth is that being a BFO musician is, fundamentally, something exceptional: Incredible soloists, the best concert halls, outstanding conductors, and perfectionist colleagues, open to the world, who truly are artists. But something used to be missing. Then we launched the Community Weeks. They were not about the capital, but oftentimes were about tiny villages or locations none of us had ever heard of, ‘at the end of the world.’ We were finally able to perform for them – for underprivileged children. This is more than just making music – this is a true mission! To bring ‘high culture’ to those who otherwise would never have the opportunity to encounter it. But how will they react to it? I mean, classical music is, well, uncool…or is it not? No, or perhaps just for the first few minutes.
But then they get into it – they get swept away, and they allow the experience to take over. When they sit down to the harp, the real ‘Flow’ takes over. Joy and carefree happiness. And then they are able to play a note – success! They break free of reality, of their daily lives. I share their joy, and I join them in their happiness. And I now know: this is why I needed to become a musician. This is why I joined the BFO: so that I can give something which is truly important and which truly matters.
Children. I myself have three. I love them – but I do not just love my own children. I love the children of others, too. Because they are special, they are open to the world, they are singular and they are sincere. They are the future!
I wonder why everyone doesn’t see it the same way. Why do people not feel and know this? Why do some people not love children? How is that possible? Why is it that the underprivileged or those living at the periphery have no chance at a normal life, befitting a human being? I can see that they are just as talented and just as inclusive. But their circumstances…
And if during the Community Weeks I performed regularly at nursing homes, I would certainly say this: love the elderly, for they are our past, and the ones we have to thank for everything. And of the synagogue and church concerts, I would say: love the temples, for they are our spiritual roots. And at our ‘simple, everyday’ concerts, the audience is our present. Our shared present!”