[ in the press ]
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