After winning the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in 2019 for his creative social justice work, Vijay Gupta resigned from the renowned Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra to devote himself full-time to helping LA's homeless, disenfranchised and incarcerated.
Podcast: The Unfiltered Interview with Vijay Gupta
"LA Stories with Giselle Fernandez" profiles Vijay Gupta, who was one of the LA Phil's most popular violinists. Gupta shares how he considers himself an "art disrupter" with his nonprofit Street Symphony, proving that LA's most moving and talented musicians can come from any walk of life — and that music has the power to heal.
Street Symphony was launched on Skid Row after Gupta was introduced by an LA Times reporter to Nathaniel Ayers. Ayers was homeless and a master musician living on the streets due to mental illness. In meeting Ayers, and others often overlooked and judged on Skid Row, Gupta says he connected to people as never before and felt seen for the first time in his life.
Gupta reveals to Fernandez how, as a child prodigy, he was pushed by his parents to excel at performance and perfection. While he was on the most prestigious world stages, he recalls the experience as a child felt abusive and isolating.
Gupta explains that by sharing music with the disenfranchised — and through embracing his Hindu faith — he has found great peace, healing and fulfillment that makes him even more determined to help oppressed communities find and share their artistic human voices, and create environments for both professional and emerging artists to move into more powerful roles as agents of change.
New episodes of "LA Stories with Giselle Fernandez" premiere Mondays at 9 p.m. on Spectrum News 1.