The New York-based Polish violinist Kinga Augustyn continues to be very active in a variety of recordings and collaborative video projects. One of these, launched a few weeks ago in mid-April 2021, is a beautiful, one-hour long film about one of the greatest American painters, John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) and his pronounced love of music.
One of the most accomplished virtuosos of the 19th century portraiture, Sargent was born in Florence to American parents and throughout his life moved in the rarefied circles of European and American high society. Narrated by Erik Ryding, a distinguished writer and lecturer in music, this video biography of Sargent is lavishly illustrated with musical soundtrack featuring some of Kinga Augustyn’s recordings. More details about this excellent presentation can be found here: Sargent and Music (YouTube).
Another of Kinga Augustyn’s recent music projects valiantly tries to navigate the restrictions due to the pandemic. In her own words, “We are still far away from regular live performance but, in the meantime, we all do what we can. […] Music will never be silenced.” It is indeed so, and we can hear Ms. Augustyn in Beethoven’s charming Two Romances for Violin and Orchestra as well as Four Ballroom Dances for woodwinds by Barry Ulman. Performed with the Skagit Symphony, the ensemble’s musical director Michael Wheatley provides insightful commentary to this video program, called ‘Dances and Romances.’ This concert was recorded separately by all musicians and edited together for your viewing enjoyment. Please see this link for a half-hour of lovely entertainment: Skagit Symphony – Dances & Romances (YouTube).
Anyone interested in still more of Kinga Augustyn’s video offerings should visit her YouTube channel, where she recently uploaded a number of her interpretations of lighter classics with accompanist Alla Milchtein at the piano (pictured at left, performing for the ‘Dances and Romances’ program). Kinga’s selections include several interesting arrangements for violin and piano, including Karol Szymanowski’s Roxana’s Song, Fryderyk Chopin’s C-sharp minor Nocturne, Leonard Bernstein’s Somewhere and John Williams’s Theme from Schindler’s List. Two other war-horses of the violin repertoire on Kinga Augustyn’s video channel include Niccolò Paganini’s Caprice Op. 14 no. 1 and Fritz Kreisler’s charming Caprice Viennois.
Calling it in her email announcement “…[the] mostly passionate and beautiful music interpreted with feelings and emotions reflecting my current, pandemic fueled, state of mind,” Kinga’s dedicated and insightful renditions of these engaging works will certainly win a great majority of her audiences’ hearts.