This CA Violinist Just Won the MacArthur Genius Grant

His audiences range from Walt Disney Concert Hall to LA’s Skid Row.

At 31 years old, Vijay Gupta can already be proud of his professional contribution as a violinist for the prestigious Los Angeles Philharmonic. Yet, it’s his mission to bring music to the homeless population that lives not too far from the Walt Disney Concert Hall that led to a recent milestone in his short career.

According to The Washington Post, “Gupta’s eight-year-long experiment with taking classical music out the highbrow world of concert halls and into the streets received national recognition when he was named one of the 25 winners of the 2018 John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellowships. The ‘genius’ grant, as it’s more commonly known, comes with a $625,000 prize that recipients can use in any way they choose. In its announcement, the foundation credited Gupta for ‘bringing beauty, respite, and purpose to those all too often ignored by society; and ‘demonstrating the capacity of music to validate our shared humanity,’ while also bringing attention to the social problems manifested in a place like skid row.”

Gupta’s humble upbringing likely propelled the young musician to look beyond the well-heeled concert halls he performs in to share his love for music.

“My dad was undocumented when he came here,” Gupta told NBC’s Dateline this summer. “He worked in kitchens all over New York and worked in JFK doing baggage claim. And so I think the drive came from them having meaning again in the world, because their two kids were talented.”

You can read more about the artist and his endeavor here.

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