[ in the press ]

The Independent: Top violinist taking classical music behind bars and to the streets

The Independent
By Tim Walker

About 150 audience members are listening rapt as Vijay Gupta, acclaimed violinist for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and his colleague Zach Dellinger play a movement by Mozart for the violin and viola. Some of those watching nod their heads or tap their feet, others close their eyes, the better to appreciate the sprightly interplay of the two instruments.

Unlike Gupta’s regular audience at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Downtown LA, some of whom will pay more than $250 (£146) for a ticket, today’s crowd are hearing him play for free. But the assembled men in blue jumpsuits are not, themselves, free. They are all low-level offenders serving out custodial sentences at the Pitchess Detention Centre, around half an hour north of LA. MORE

Published July 16, 2014
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[ in the press ]

How 26-Year-Old Violinist Vijay Gupta Became the Most Interesting Man in the Phil

robert gupta

Photo by Gary Leonard

LA Downtown News
By Donna Evans

On a sweltering day in late August, Los Angeles Philharmonic violinist Vijay Gupta steps in front of a crowd and bows his head to polite applause. He glances at the audience and surveys the cellist and violist to his left. He takes a breath, lifts his 2003 Krutz violin and tucks it under his chin. Once it’s settled, he slowly pulls the bow across the strings. As the first strains of the “Passacaglia” by George Frideric Handel and Johann Halvorsen usher forth, the murmurs of the crowd go mute.

While the scene is one that audiences at Walt Disney Concert Hall pay up to $266 a ticket to take in, no one here has spent a cent. In fact, many in the packed room at Skid Row’s Midnight Mission know little about classical music and even less about the men playing in front of them. Still, the approximately 100 people, many of whom sleep on the streets at night, sit rapt on their blue plastic chairs. They remain largely quiet — if not as silent as Disney Hall crowds — during the 45-minute performance. MORE

Published October 1, 2013
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