Vijay Gupta, Visionary Founder of Street Symphony
By Spectrum News Staff Downtown Los Angeles
PUBLISHED 2:30 PM ET Jul. 08, 2019
LA Stories with Giselle Fernandez profiles Vijay Gupta one of the LA Philharmonic’s most popular violinists.
This year, after winning the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship Award for his creative social justice work, Gupta resigned from the prestigious orchestra to devote himself full-time to helping L.A.’s homeless, disenfranchised, and incarcerated.
Gupta shares with Giselle how with his non-profit, Street Symphony, he considers himself an “art disrupter,” proving that L.A.’s most moving and talented musicians can come from any walk of life and that music has the power to heal.
Street Symphony was launched on Skid Row after Gupta was introduced by an LA Times reporter to Nathaniel Ayers. Ayers was homeless and a master musician living on the streets due to mental illness.
In meeting Ayers, and others often overlooked and judged on Skid Row, Gupta says he connected to people as never before and felt seen for the first time in his life. Gupta reveals to Giselle how as a child prodigy, he was pushed by his parents to excel at performance and perfection. While he was on the most prestigious world stages, he recalls the experience as a child felt abusive and isolating.
Gupta explains to Giselle that by sharing music with the disenfranchised, and through embracing his Hindu faith, he has found great peace, healing, and fulfillment that makes him even more determined to help oppressed communities to find and share their artistic human voices and create environments for professional and emerging artists to move in more powerful roles as agents of change.