Vijay Gupta

Violinist | Speaker | Citizen Artist


June 25
Featured Speaker at Association for Schools and Curriculum Development (ASCD) Virtual Conference
July 13
Keynote Speaker at American Organization for Nursing Leadership Virtual Conference
July 28 - August 8
Residency at the Strings Festival (Steamboat Springs, CO)

Vijay Gupta is a violinist, speaker and citizen-artist dedicated to creating spaces of wholeness through music.

On Social

Vijay Gupta - Violinist, #violinist, renowned speaker and philanthropist, and founder of Street Symphony has released his first solo album. Vijay plays on a 2010 #violin crafted by #violinmaker Eric Benning. Purchase his CD here:

“When the violin
Can forgive the past
It starts singing”
* Hafiz

What story are you still holding onto, which prevents your heart from singing its truth? 
#WhenTheViolin is now available for pre-release on @Bandcamp. 

“That face you make when you play! You’ve seen some stuff.

What have you seen?”

- One of the many soul-piercing questions that an unprepared Vijay Gupta received when playing at clinics and shelters.

In the eyes of many, Vijay Gupta - Violinist, has lived a ...privileged life, unapproachable by most.

Child Prodigy.

Recipient of the MacArthur Genius Grant.

Youngest violinist in the LA Phil’s history.

BUT EVERYTHING COMES WITH A PRICE, especially “success”.

🔗 How did these labels weigh Vijay down, both figuratively and literally, until he found himself amongst the homeless at Skid Row?

🔗Click the link in the comments to listen or search “Stories of Transformation'' in your favorite podcast app!

Podcast Hosted and Produced by @Baktash Ahadi
Audio Engineering by @Joseph Gangemi
Digital Marketing & Media by @Dana Drahos and @Katherine An
Theme music by @Qais Essar
Artwork by Masheed Ahadi

Additional Music Credits
"Stories From The Sky" by Sid Acharya
"Willow Wood" by Alon Peretz
"When The Violin" by Vijay Gupta
"Mystical Dusk" by Mystical Flute

“This Sonata was the first unaccompanied work for violin I ever learned. There would be no accompanist, no orchestra, no collaborative relationship onstage. Sei Solo. When young violinists first encounter what the violinist and composer George Enescu called the “Himalayas” for violinists, we ...are often inducted into a formulaic, armored approach to this music: Bach doesn’t bleed.”
From my liner notes for #WhenTheViolin: in my approach to this Sonata of Bach, I looked for the blood. I looked for a different way to play Bach - to find the humor, the love, the flightiness, the loss, and the dance. #WhenTheViolin is now available for pre-release on @Bandcamp. 

Lessons from Skid Row

Vijay Gupta - Violinist, believes that the work of the artist and citizen is one:
to make a daily practice of the connected, creative, and courageous world we long to live in.

Hailed by The New Yorker as “a visionary of the most radical... thinkers in the unradical world of American classical music”.

Vijay is an esteemed musician, speaker and thought leader, serving to create spaces of belonging, healing and wholeness through music.

🎧 But what trauma comes with places like Julliard and being labeled a “child prodigy”?

How did Gupta cope, and more importantly, how did he learn to heal?

🔗Click the link in the comments to listen or search “Stories of Transformation'' in your favorite podcast app!

🔔 If you like this episode, make sure to subscribe and we’ll see you next week with another story of transformation. 😎

Happy #transformationtuesday !

Podcast Hosted and Produced by Baktash Ahadi
Audio Engineering by Joe Gangemi
Digital Marketing & Media by Dana Drahos and Katherine An
Theme music by Qais Essar
Artwork by Masheed Ahadi

Additional Music Credits
"Stories From The Sky" by Sid Acharya
"Willow Wood" by Alon Peretz
"When The Violin" by Vijay Gupta - Violinist
"Mystical Dusk" by Mystical Flute

#storiesoftransformation #storiespodcast #storiesoftransformationpodcast #afghancontentcreators #transformationpodcast #documentarians #afghanmillenials #culturepodcast #muslimstories #tedxspeaker #podcastcommunity #podcastseries #transformationstory #intimatestorytellers #tedxtalks #tedx #afghani #freespeech #transformation #refugees #vijaygupta #skidrow #streetsymphony #laphil #macauthurgeniusgrant #schizophrenia #thesoloist #nathanielayers #tonimorrison

I play differently for the people I love. I play differently when my playing is received with love - when my playing is received as an offering to open our perspectives and experiences to something greater than ourselves. The old conditions of 'perfect' go out the window when the ...intention is connection. In fact, the work before us may be to lean into the fractures, to embrace what is broken, and to make something new.

I made something: friends, I'm so thrilled to share my debut solo violin album, "When the Violin", which is available for pre-order Bandcamp today! This work has been building throughout the months of quarantine - combing my practices together into a form which I can actually share with you all. The album starts with Reena Esmail's "When the Violin", based on the eponymous poem of the Sufi mystic, Hafiz.

This album is dedicated to people in reentry from incarceration: my main audiences, along with you who have generously followed my journey on social media, have been people in reentry from life sentences in prison.

The album will be released in full on July 9 on Bandcamp, and in the meantime, I'll be sharing clips and glimpses of the process.

More to come!

Image for shared link
When the Violin, by Vijay Gupta

7 track album

Of the many performances of Take What You Need, very few of them have been in traditional concert halls. Most performances have taken place in jails, homeless shelters, support groups, schools, memorial services, places of worship — in places where people can gather to see and honor the humanity one another.

In 2015, I asked Reena Esmail, Composer to write a work for Street Symphony, which could bring musicians and our audiences at places like The Midnight Mission and the LA County jails together in the course of an event - an anthem for Skid Row and our work there.

Reena spent months working closely with a choir which met at a clinic in Skid Row, getting to know the stories of people who had experienced pain and loss, but who chose to see the world through possibility and joy.

As I saw the work take shape, it became so clear that we - the performing musicians - needed the words of “Take What You Need” just as much as everyone in our audiences. We need to take hope and heart, to take a chance and a step, to take pride and pause, joy and breath.

Take a moment
Take a breath
Take time
Take care

Take heart
Take hope
Take a step
Take a chance

Take courage
Take charge
Take a stand
Take pride

Take joy
Take pause
Take a moment
Take a breath

Take what you need

Vijay Gupta, Violin
Directed by Louis Ng, Lenson Productions
Filmed at All Saints Church, Pasadena in September 2020