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REMOTE | Carol Fujino ‘I Got Used To Having Structure And Purpose In My Day’

By Michael Zarathus-Cook on June 3, 2020

Carol Fujino
Violinist Carol Fujino (Image courtesy of the TSO)

One of the adverse effects of not being able to perform, especially for musicians who are part of an orchestra or ensemble, is losing the structure provided by the regular schedule of concerts during a season. Being without that anchor, after years or perhaps decades of regular programming, can be disorienting. It’s also an opportunity to bring your body in for a tune-up. Like athletes performing every other night, ensemble musicians too can wear out their body without proper care. Carol Lynn Fujino, a Toronto Symphony Orchestra violinist since 1991, joins us for this episode of REMOTE to discuss how she’s coping with the loss of structure and rehabilitating her body during quarantine.

How have you been coping with this pandemic?

Much better now but at first it felt surreal not going to work; not seeing colleagues; not having a purpose to get up early. I was sad not to get to work with Gustavo, not to celebrate the last two weeks with Andrew Davis. Even now it still feels a little unreal but I started thinking, “Wow, I can actually spend my days doing something other than practising and laundry!” The downside is that I’d got used to having structure and purpose in my day, both things that the symphony schedule provided, and now I have to find those myself.

Carol Fujino
Carol Fujino at home (Image courtesy of the artist)

Now that you have some free time, how are you keeping busy?

I guess like a lot of people I’m indulging my inner baker, but I’m really enjoying doing yoga on Zoom! I’ve never done yoga before and it’s an incredible process slowly learning how to release built up tension from years of playing. I usually have to go to the chiropractor every week just for maintenance but I never really made time to try yoga. I think it’s been a saviour plus it gives structure to my week which I need. Otherwise, to keep myself motivated musically, I’m trying to set goals for learning some contemporary solo violin repertoire. I play in Continuum (Contemporary Ensemble) and while I’ve had the chance to perform some amazing violin and piano pieces it’s pretty exciting to explore a new area of repertoire.

What are you missing the most right now?

I really miss seeing my family and my friends at work. My mother lives at a seniors’ residence which has been in total lockdown for over two months now, so I’m looking forward to when I can go and see her again. We talk every day but it’s really not the same.

Any book, films, TV on the go?

I’m currently reading American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins and just finished a great book called The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. I’m also fortunate enough to have a movie buff husband who finds amazing movies and documentaries that we can watch. We’re very lucky — it’s like a movie night every night!

What is the one thing you can’t live without?

I don’t think there’s any one thing in my day-to-day life that I can’t live without, but as these weeks go by, I’ve been thinking more and more about that moment when we’re finally all back on stage, and we’re whole again.

Any words of wisdom to get through this?

I couldn’t speak for other people but my life has slowed down immeasurably in these last weeks — I do think a lot about all the things I am lucky to have in my life and it makes me less anxious about whatever the future will be.

For more chats with artists in social isolation, read on HERE.


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Michael Zarathus-Cook
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