Vijay Gupta

Violinist. Speaker. Advocate.

Blog
May 24, 2020

Solitude/Isolation

There are many ways to be alone. 

Gupta…is one of the most radical thinkers in the unradical world of American classical music. With Street Symphony, he has created a formidable new model for how musical institutions should engage with the world around them. – Alex Ross, The New Yorker

Handel's 'Messiah,' on Skid Row

What’s Next

Vijay Gupta is represented as a speaker by the Lavin Agency.

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Vijay Gupta 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 violinist…one 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.

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October 13, 2018

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October 10, 2018

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October 5, 2018

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October 5, 2018

Washington Post: The violinist for LA’s skid row wins a MacArthur ‘genius’ grant

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October 4, 2018

KPCC Take Two Feature

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August 17, 2018

NBC Dateline Feature: Vijay Gupta’s Story

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This Morning I Pray for My Enemies

And whom do I call my enemy?
An enemy must be worthy of engagement.
I turn in the direction of the sun and keep walking.
It’s the heart that asks the question, not my furious mind.
The heart is the smaller cousin of the sun.
It sees and knows everything.
It hears the gnashing even as it hears the blessing.
The door to the mind should only open from the heart.
An enemy who gets in, risks the danger of becoming a friend.
- Joy Harjo
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@reenaesmailcomposer aching melody in the raga #Desh (the word for country/homeland) is the gnashing and the blessing we need.

Esmail, Piano Trio: Movement II, with @suzanabartal and @petermyerscello

#inauguration
#creativesadhana
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We're all praying to laugh again. 

The writer David Whyte talks about how humiliation is the pathway to growth, to humor: when we learn that we're just frail, human, and utterly fallible creatures - all we can do is laugh at ourselves - and live into a new narrative.

The artist is a channel for that story. That story - first private, then communal - flows through them, becomes them, lives in and through them. Ultimately, the artist - a human bridge - gives that story as an offering to the world. The creative act is always a generous act.

In the body of the artist/performer/storyteller, we see our deepest longings revealed - reminding us of our humanity, our frailty. In the case of "Lachen Verlernt", the violin serves as the narrator of a prayer, begging the clown Pierrot to teach her to laugh again. In describing this work, Esa-Pekka Salonen said "I felt that this is a very moving metaphor of a performer: a serious clown trying to help the audience to connect with emotions they have lost, or believe they have lost."

Full video in bio
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Lachen Verlernt: Esa-Pekka Salonen
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Lachen Verlernt - laughing unlearned - is a quote from Pierrot Lunaire, the poems of Albert Giraud famously set by Arnold Schoenberg. In the "Prayer" movement, the narrator begs the harlequin, Pierrot, to give her back her laughter.

For me, "Lachen" became a spiritual and artistic labor, a soundtrack through the continuous unraveling and unveiling of 2020.

In "Lachen", the role of the solo violin is that of Pierrot's narrator - begging, cajoling, threatening, praying, pleading - finally, in utter desperation - screaming for the return of that laughter and all it might represent.

Stay tuned the full video - landing this Friday.
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When the violin ⁠⠀
Can forgive every wound caused by others⁠⠀
The heart starts singing⁠⠀
***⁠⠀
When the Violin: @reenaesmailcomposer⁠⠀
#creativesadhana⁠⠀
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We get to choose. ⁠⠀
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All of us have the immense opportunity to choose how we will interact with this world, as we rebuild, and recreate a more just, a more connected, a more artistic world. ⁠⠀
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We do not create this world to return to ‘normal’. No - we evolve because we are compelled to. We are compelled to envision, to dream, to partner, and to practice. We are compelled to make room for the tragic crises and mourn and to create the world we long for - a world where we all belong, and can create belonging. ⁠⠀
Photo: @bawdenka ⁠⠀
#creativesadhana⁠⠀
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There’s a blaze of light in every word. It doesn’t matter which you heard - the holy or the broken hallelujah. - Leonard Cohen⁠⠀
***⁠⠀
Hallelujah, arr @reenaesmailcomposer ⁠⠀
#creativesadhana⁠⠀
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my mother⁠⠀
is pure radiance.⁠
⁠⠀
she is the sun⁠⠀
i can touch⁠⠀
and kiss⁠⠀
⁠⠀
and hold⁠⠀
without⁠⠀
getting burnt.⁠⠀
-Sanober Khan⁠⠀
***⁠⠀
Photo: @bawdenka ⁠⠀
#creativesadhana⁠⠀
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Tonight, look up and see a miracle. Look to the southwest, and witness the celestial dance that hasn’t happened in 800 years. ⁠⠀
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We are part of that same dance. ⁠⠀
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It is inevitable that we would be here, right now, tonight, to see this. Of all the years to behold a miracle - this one. ⁠⠀
***⁠⠀
Darshan: III @reenaesmailcomposer⁠⠀
#creativesadhana
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#fbf to my first time onstage at the breathtaking @hetconcertgebouw in #Amsterdam, on tour with @laphil in March, 2016. ⁠⠀
Highlight of that visit - visiting the #vangogh museum. I miss traveling. ⁠⠀
#hetconcertgebouw⁠⠀
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“Darshan” is the Sanskrit word for vision: a glimpse of the Divine in each of us, a glimpse of the more connected, more whole world we long for. ⁠⠀
May we see each other. ⁠⠀
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Darshan: III, by @reenaesmailcomposer ⁠⠀
#creativesadhana⁠⠀
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Art like prayer is a hand outstretched in the darkness, seeking for some touch of grace that transforms it into the hand that bestows gifts. - Franz Kafka⁠⠀
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Biber: Passacaglia from the Mystery Sonatas⁠⠀
#creativesadhana⁠⠀
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Take a moment. ⁠
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So excited to announce @streetsymph end of year project, “Take What You Need”, a daily offering of gratitude, music and community - each day for the rest of this year. ⁠
Please join us, and follow along @streetsymph⁠
#creativesadhana #streetsymphony⁠
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“What you are will show, ultimately. Start now, every day, becoming, in your actions, your regular actions, what you would like to become in the bigger scheme of things.” - Anna Deavere Smith⁠ @annadeaveresmith⁠⠀
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For the last 40 years, @cla_arts_law has been serving the creative arts and innovations community, CLA engages in advocacy on behalf of the creative arts and innovation community at the local, state and federal level. They truly model, in their work and everyday regular actions - a more connected, whole, and creative world. ⁠⠀
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Very touched to be among the incredible honorees for California Lawyers for the Arts 13th annual Artistic License Awards, alongside @repjudychu @benallenca and @santafeartcolony.dtla. ⁠⠀
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Photo: @bawdenka ⁠⠀
#creativesadhana⁠⠀
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Sometimes, disruption isn't a tidal wave: sometimes it is listening to the quietest voice within ourselves. ⁠⠀
It's putting our phone on airplane mode at sea level. ⁠⠀
It's making the first vulnerable mark on a page or tender sound in an empty hall or having that vulnerable conversation with a loved one and showing up, again and again and again. ⁠⠀
It's letting our lives catch up to our souls.⁠⠀
***⁠⠀
#fbf to a 2019 talk on #creativedisruption for Hallmark at the beautiful #HelzbergHall, home of @kcsymphony⁠⠀
@hallmarkcls⁠⠀
#creativesadhana⁠⠀
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MacArthur Photo Credit: John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation