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Vijay Gupta, “The Citizen-Artist as Healer”

This year’s Tzedek Professor in the Humanities, violinist Vijay Gupta, deeply believes in music as a form of social medicine. He also believes that each of us has an obligation to share whatever our personal gifts are for the betterment of our communities and the world. Vijay Gupta is a violinist, public speaker, and passionate advocate for the dedicated presence of citizen-artists in social and civic life. Gupta joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2007 at the age of 19, after having completed an undergraduate degree in biology and a Master’s degree in violin performance from the Yale School of Music. Gupta made his solo debut with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Zubin Mehta at age 11, and has performed internationally as a recitalist, soloist and chamber musician since the age of 8. He has also performed as a guest concertmaster with the Los Angeles Opera and the U.K.’s acclaimed Philharmonia Orchestra. Gupta frequently appears on the Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella (new music) and Chamber Music series, and is actively involved in LA Phil community engagement and education initiatives.

In 2011, Gupta co-founded and began serving as Artistic Director of Street Symphony, a non-profit organization dedicated to engaging distinguished musicians in performance and dialogue with marginalized communities experiencing homelessness and incarceration. A gifted spokesperson for the power of the arts to change lives, Gupta believes that musical engagement reconnects us to our shared humanity across vast divides, and ultimately impacts social justice. Gupta is a TED Senior Fellow and currently serves on the board of directors of the DC-based national arts advocacy organization Americans for the Arts. In 2015, at the age of 27, he was presented with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by the University of La Verne.