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I’m incredibly excited to play this opening program of my Music Worcester residency with my colleague and friend Chester Englander, a leading concert cimbalom artist widely acclaimed for his prominent role in the works of the American composer John Adams. Chester and I will present a concert of reflective works written for cimbalom and violin by Hungarian composer György Kurtág and Arvo Pärt, as well as works by Kaija Saariaho, Reena Esmail, and J.S. Bach.”
Vijay is the founder and Artistic Director of Street Symphony, a community of musicians creating spaces of connection for people in reentry from homelessness, addiction and incarceration in Los Angeles. Vijay is also a co-founder of the Skid Row Arts Alliance, a consortium dedicated to creating art for – and with – the largest homeless community in America. For his work in “bringing beauty, respite, and purpose to those all too often ignored by society”, Vijay was the recipient of a 2018 MacArthur Fellowship.
A riveting speaker, Vijay has shared his work with dozens of corporations, campuses, conferences and communities across America over the past 10 years, including The Richmond Forum, The Aspen Institute, Hallmark, Accenture, Mayo Clinic, US Psychiatric Congress, American Planning Association, and the League of American Orchestras, just to name a few. Vijay delivered the 33rd annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy for Americans for the Arts and his 2010 TED Talk, “Music is Medicine, Music is Sanity”, has garnered millions of views.
Vijay has performed as an international recitalist, soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral musician for over 20 years, playing his solo debut with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Zubin Mehta. Vijay was a member of the first violin section of the Los Angeles Philharmonic for 12 years, and has collaborated with the Kronos Quartet, the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, Yo-Yo Ma, and appears regularly with the Strings Festival in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
A dynamic recording artist, Vijay recently released Breathe, an album of the piano chamber music of Reena Esmail, under his own label. His solo violin album When the Violin, featuring the music of Esmail, J. S. Bach, and Esa-Pekka Salonen will be available on Bandcamp in June 2021. Vijay currently serves as the Senior Artistic and Programs Advisor for Young Musicians Foundation. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Marist College, and a Master’s in Music from the Yale School of Music. His principal teachers have included Ani Kavafian and Glenn Dicterow. Vijay plays a 2010 violin made by Los Angeles-based luthier Eric Benning, and can be found on Instagram @guptaviolin.
Chester has performed on percussion and/or cimbalom with the Atlanta Symphony, the Boston Symphony, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony, the Cincinnati Symphony, The Cleveland Orchestra, the Iceland Symphony, the Israel Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the National Symphony, the New World Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, the Oregon Symphony, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Rochester Philharmonic, the Saint Louis Symphony, the San Diego Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony, the Seattle Symphony, and the Toronto Symphony. He has taken part in multiple world and U.S. premiere performances of orchestral and chamber works by several composers including John Adams, Thomas Ad s, Louis Andriessen, Unsuk Chin, Peter E tv s, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Dmitri Shostakovich, and Bernd Alois Zimmermann. Additionally, he directly collaborated with John Adams on the composition of the featured cimbalom parts for The Gospel According to the Other Mary and Scheherazade.2.
Chester can be heard on the Cantaloupe, Capcom, Deutsche Grammophon, DisneyNature, Interscope, Naxos, Nonesuch, Seattle Symphony Media, and Ubisoft labels. Chester is also Head of Percussion Studies at Cleveland State University. He and his lovely wife, violinist Rachel Englander, reside in Cleveland, OH and are proud parents to their adorable daughters Charlotte and Alice.
John Wayne is not the actor who comes to mind, at least, not anymore. He decided to take the mask off January 11th, 2019. Sobriety revealed his love for classical music, poetic expression, and musical performance.
As an inmate at the Worcester County House Of Corrections, he earned the privilege to attend a song writing class called the “OpporTUNEity” program. His impact on the program found its way into the local section of the Worcester T&G from behind bars. Post release, another part of his story was featured on the front page of the Worcester Magazine.
Today, he works for OppoTUNEity Music Connections at the same county jail as a Song Writing Instructor, helping inmates to uncover their songs and providing them with the power or example. He is an artist who can carve his heart out of musical performance, baring the scars of experience aesthetically
We are all grateful for Mr. Gupta’s tireless work,
and I know his timely and important message will inspire and motivate you all.
Enjoy Vijay Gupta’s full collection of live performance videos and more on his YouTube channel: