Vijay Gupta is a violinist, speaker and citizen-artist dedicated to creating spaces of wholeness through music. Vijay’s work embodies his belief that the work of artists and citizens is one: to make a sadhana – a daily practice – of the world we envision. Hailed by The New Yorker as a “visionary violinist…one of the most radical thinkers in the unradical world of American classical music,” Vijay leads a protean career as a thought leader, performer, collaborator and communicator.
Vijay is the founder and Artistic Director of Street Symphony, a community of musicians creating spaces of connection for people in reentry from homelessness, addiction and incarceration in Los Angeles. Vijay is also a co-founder of the Skid Row Arts Alliance, a consortium dedicated to creating art for – and with – the largest homeless community in America. For his work in “bringing beauty, respite, and purpose to those all too often ignored by society”, Vijay was the recipient of a 2018 MacArthur Fellowship.
A riveting speaker, Vijay has shared his work with dozens of corporations, campuses, conferences and communities across America over the past 10 years, including The Richmond Forum, The Aspen Institute, Hallmark, Accenture, Mayo Clinic, US Psychiatric Congress, American Planning Association, and the League of American Orchestras, just to name a few. Vijay delivered the 33rd annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy for Americans for the Arts and his 2010 TED Talk, “Music is Medicine, Music is Sanity”, has garnered millions of views.
Vijay has performed as an international recitalist, soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral musician for over 20 years, playing his solo debut with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Zubin Mehta. Vijay was a member of the first violin section of the Los Angeles Philharmonic for 12 years, and has collaborated with the Kronos Quartet, the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, Yo-Yo Ma, and appears regularly with the Strings Festival in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
A dynamic recording artist, Vijay recently released Breathe, an album of the piano chamber music of Reena Esmail, under his own label. His solo violin album When the Violin, a solo violin album featuring the music of Esmail, J. S. Bach, and Esa-Pekka Salonen will be available on Bandcamp in June 2021. Vijay currently serves as the Senior Artistic and Programs Advisor for Young Musicians Foundation. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Marist College, and a Master’s in Music from the Yale School of Music. His principal teachers have included Ani Kavafian and Glenn Dicterow. Vijay plays a 2010 violin made by Los Angeles-based luthier Eric Benning, and can be found on Instagram @guptaviolin.