Contact Vijay For Booking

Vijay Gupta

Music speaks to people—touches people—in ways words alone cannot.

Founder of Street Symphony | 2018 MacArthur Fellow | TED Senior Fellow

Contact Vijay For Booking
Vijay Gupta | Founder of Street Symphony | 2018 MacArthur Fellow | TED Senior Fellow
Lavin Exclusive Speaker

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 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 that shifts the context of conversations about homelessness, addiction, and incarceration from retribution to transformation. Street Symphony engages 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.

 

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. Gupta served as a member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic for 12 years, which he joined as the youngest violinist in the orchestra’s history.

 

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 is the recipient of a MacArthur grant. In 2019, he was named one of TIME’s “100 Next,” the magazine’s inagural list putting a spotlight on rising stars shaping the future. In October 2020, Gupta will headline with Kronos String Quartet in UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance “Tune In” festival honoring Pete Seeger. A strategic and artistic advisor for organizations across the United States, Gupta currently serves on the Board of Directors of Americans for the Arts.

 

Testimonials

“Wonderful! Moving, evocative, thought-provoking, inspirational. It is this kind of presentation that moves people to action.”

British Columbia Non-Profit Housing Association
Testimonials

“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
Testimonials

“[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

Speech Topics

Corporate Culture
The Artist’s Way Building a Creative Workplace in a Post-Covid World
Despite the chaos and turmoil of 2020, it offered us a much-needed invitation to reflect on the kind of world we want to live in. We’ve seen a reevaluation of what is essential in our societies; a renewed discovery of the value of deep, creative work; and a greater appreciation balancing solitude and our connection with the world. Businesses, too, have been offered a chance to rethink not only how they operate, but how they can connect with their employees in a more meaningful way. Helping them reimagine everything from leadership to creativity, are artists like Vijay Gupta.
 
In his powerful and eye-opening talk, Gupta—a world-renowned violinist—applies his experience in musical performance, education, and community engagement, including 10+ years of managing his non-profit Street Symphony, to the corporate world. His unique background helps leaders, managers, and executives at all levels answer some of their most burning questions. How can we transition from a top-down model of leadership, into one that follows the artistic tradition of decentralization and collaboration? How can we continue to seek excellence and achievement in our work without losing sight of our greater purpose? And how can we create spaces of belonging in the workplace, allowing people to show up as their most authentic selves?
 
Complete with a musical Q&A session, this one-of-a-kind talk shows leaders how they can build the type of trust that allows creativity and innovation to emerge.
Activism & Humanitarianism
Heal Yourself, Change the World A Musical Conversation with Vijay Gupta
Through grief, loss, and collective trauma—how do we begin to heal ourselves and create the post-COVID world? For celebrated violinist and social justice advocate Vijay Gupta, the answer unsurprisingly begins with music. At his nonprofit Street Symphony, Gupta uses music to show us the power we have to heal ourselves, inspire others, and provoke meaningful change. And by moving away from a hierarchical “outreach” model, and into one of collaboration and engagement, he helps facilitate experiences of mutual reciprocity, wholeness, and belonging.
 
Today, Gupta works tirelessly to inspire citizen artistry across America and around the world. This spontaneous and engaging talk not only offers a real-time musical exploration with Gupta, but the building blocks for transforming our own communities—gleaned from years of on-the-ground experience working with some of societies’ most vulnerable populations. Change starts small, says Gupta. It can begin with something as simple as a daily artistic practice, a creative habit. But over time, that small commitment to our creativity will blossom and ripple through our communities in a way that connects us to our greater humanity.
 
As Gupta says, “With every breath, every brush stroke, every word, every note, we cast a vote for the future we want to create.” Compassionate and courageous, this talk is essential listening as we begin to build the new world we want to live in.
Mental Health
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.

Grit at School
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.