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,” Gupta is an esteemed musician, speaker and thought leader, serving to create spaces of belonging, healing and wholeness through music.
“A master of music and medicine.”— The TODAY Show
Gupta’s labor of love lies in the creation and direction of Street Symphony, a musical community which serves to shift the context of conversations about homelessness, addiction and incarceration from retribution to transformation. Street Symphony serves to engage the Skid Row community of Los Angeles through musical encounters and intimate conversations, operating on the core principle that every person has a story to be told, and heard.
As a speaker, Gupta shares his vision for transformative community engagement in the form of musical keynote lectures, workshops, and strategic conversations for companies, conferences, universities, and non-profit organizations. He recently delivered the 33rd annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy—a lecture previously given by Yo-Yo Ma and Maya Angelou—where he was introduced by the Honorable Speaker Nancy Pelosi. To date, his TED Talk, “Music is Medicine, Music is Sanity,” has garnered millions of views.
An esteemed violinist, Gupta is a recording artist, an ardent chamber musician and collaborator.
Gupta made his solo debut with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Zubin Mehta at age 11, and has performed as a recitalist, soloist and chamber musician on an international scale since the age of 8. He has also performed as a guest concertmaster with the Los Angeles Opera and the UK’s acclaimed Philharmonia Orchestra. Vijay served as a member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic for 12 years, which he joined as the youngest violinist in the orchestra’s history. In October 2020, Vijay headlined with the esteemed Kronos String Quartet for UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance “Tune In” festival honoring Pete Seeger.
For his work in bringing beauty, respite, and purpose to those all too often ignored by society, while encouraging us to reflect on many ways we can all make a difference in our world today, Gupta was the recipient of a MacArthur grant. In 2019, he was named one of TIME’s “100 Next,” the magazine’s inaugural list putting a spotlight on rising stars shaping the future. He’s a strategic and artistic advisor for organizations across the United States, and serves on the Board of Directors of Americans for the Arts.
“Wonderful! Moving, evocative, thought-provoking, inspirational. It is this kind of presentation that moves people to action.”British Columbia Non-Profit Housing Association
“Vijay was a sheer delight. He was not only an incredible storyteller/entertainer/inspiration, he was flexible and easy to work with. I don’t know how to talk about his joining the Nashville Symphony and becoming a part of our community here, but I’m scheming about it!”Porters Call
“[We were so thrilled to] meet the amazingly talented, delightful, and inspirational Vijay Gupta. I have already had emails from Texas Tech Music faculty thanking me for the wonderful evening. One man told me last night that it was the best event he had ever attended on the Tech campus. We over-use the word “brilliant” nowadays, but in Vijay’s case, it fits. Thank you!”Texas Tech University
The Artist’s Way Building a Creative Workplace in a Post-Covid World
Heal Yourself, Change the World A Musical Conversation with Vijay Gupta
The Medicine of Music
In this talk, Vijay (Robert) Gupta explores the connection between music and mental health, explaining why music’s redemptive power may hold more potential than we realize. Gupta draws from his work as director of Street Symphony—a musical engagement non-profit—to illustrate how music can help bring people back from the brink of their darkest times. How does music speak to people in ways language cannot? Why is music education vitally important, especially to those who are most in need? Erudite, eloquent, and passionate, Gupta shows audiences that music isn’t just something to be enjoyed—it's something that can change lives.
Why Music Education is Essential
Vijay Gupta believes strongly that music should be a fundamental element in an educational curriculum, beyond an extracurricular hobby or even a medium to facilitate instruction in other fields, such as math or science. In this talk, he shares his personal journey in music education, tying in his experiences as a young musician struggling to find the meaning in music with the lack of programs and support, as well as the stigma he faced at choosing between a career as a “responsible person” in science and a career in his life’s passion, music. That stigma still exists around music and the arts. Gupta believes music educators are true pioneers in the kind of human education that will shape the kind of empathic and compassionate socially connected lives that our world demands of our young people. Music gives us these human tools, says Gupta—the relational discipline grounded in passion that truly can affect change in the world around us.