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REMOTE | Diane Leung: ‘This Is The Time Where We Are Forced To Grow And Change’

By Michael Zarathus-Cook on October 22, 2020

Diane Leung & Siggi
Diane Leung & Siggi (Photo courtesy of the artist)

It’s been a while since the last episode of the REMOTE series in a written format — the podcast version is alive and well on Spotify, and you can check out our latest episode with cellist Arlen Hlusko — so it’s a pleasure to welcome TSO violist Diane Leung. She joins us to share a couple words on the arc of her experience of 2020 thus far. Some of her responses echo a consistent theme in this ongoing interview series: there’s no doubt that 2020 is a watershed year, we just have to make sure to bring out of it a better version of each other.

How are you doing during this pandemic?

It has certainly been an interesting time! I’ve been doing a lot better now than at the start of lockdown. There have been some intense moments of complete paranoia, thinking germs are on everything, and anxiety, with not knowing what will happen in the future, how the orchestra will continue and weather this storm. On the other hand, after the first month of the usual quarantine binge-eating, I’ve realized this is the perfect time to actually get in shape and finally be a lot more healthy. It’s crazy that this time has made me realize how much my husband and I have ordered in, eaten out, and finally we are forced to eat better, cook at home and work out. We have a rooftop deck that we can hang out in and get lots of fresh air which also helps a lot.

What are the ways you are keeping busy?

It’s ingrained in me to need some sort of structure in the day, so I’ve been attempting to learn some languages in the meantime in hopes that I can travel to places soon and put them to some use! I’ve also been trying to petition all my local councilors all the way up to the federal government trying to get them to act faster, make masks mandatory in indoor places, etc. From the beginning, I’ve felt we’ve responded far too slow. We’ve had months of watching this pandemic unfold, so it’s been rather frustrating to feel like we’ve wasted time in lockdown by not implementing stronger measures at the start of lockdown. Also, practising the viola, of course, and spending time with our little fuzzball, Siggi.

What are you missing the most right now?

I am missing performing on stage with my colleagues the most. It’s been hard to not hear that sound day in and day out. I also miss seeing my family in person. I had a few trips planned to visit them, but unfortunately had to cancel all of them for now.

Books, films, or TV on the go?

Any documentary I can get my hands on, and I’ve also been binging on Terrace House.

What’s your motto for getting through this?

I call this moment “The Great Reflection”, where every facet of our lives is under scrutiny. This is the time where we are forced to grow and change. Hopefully the world will be a better place after all of these hardships.


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


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Michael Zarathus-Cook
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