321 Main St, Worcester, MA
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“When the Violin, the title of a poem by the Sufi mystic Hafiz on the power of forgiveness and new identities, will present works by JS Bach and Reena Esmail in collaboration with dance artist and choreographer Yamini Kalluri. Opening with Bach’s 2nd Partita in D minor with its concluding “Ciacona” – considered an Everest for violinists – the program will present a new choreography of the preceding baroque dance movements of Bach’s Partita. Kalluri is trained as a classical Indian dancer as well as in the Martha Graham school of avant-garde ballet.
Following the D minor Partita comes Esmail’s When The Violin, originally written for choir and cello, and a companion work to the 16th century Spanish composer Victoria’s O Vos Omnes. Esmail writes: “The text of O Vos Omnes is asking, simply, to be seen in a moment of sorrow — to be beheld through suffering and darkness. And Hafiz’s text responds in such a beautiful way — it moves through that darkness and begins to let those very first slivers of light in.”
–Vijay Gupta, Music Worcester Artist-In-Residence 2023
When The Violin — Reena Esmail
Vijay Gupta is a violinist, speaker and citizen-artist dedicated to creating spaces of wholeness and transformation through music. Hailed by The New Yorker as a “visionary violinist…one of the most radical thinkers in the unradical world of American classical music,” Vijay leads a protean career as a thought leader, performer, collaborator and communicator.
Vijay is the founder and Artistic Director of Street Symphony, which provides thousands of musical experiences for people in reentry from homelessness, addiction and incarceration in Los Angeles. A community of professional and community artists from a wide variety of genres, Street Symphony has presented thousands of musical workshops, performances and lessons in Los Angeles shelters, clinics, county jails and prisons, 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.
Vijay is the 2023 Artist in Residence of the Massachusetts-based organization Music Worcester, where he curates, collaborates, and performs in venues such as Mechanics Hall, as well as in educational and incarceration settings. Vijay’s residency will present novel collaborations aimed to redefine the concert experience, ranging from programs with cimbalom artist Chester Englander, the works of JS Bach choreographed with Indian classical dancer Yamini Kalluri, a piano trio ‘mosaic program’ with Darshan Trio, and collaborations with the Worcester Choir.
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 served as 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, Rachel Podger, and appears regularly with the Strings Festival in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. In Los Angeles, Vijay is a founding member of Darshan Trio, and also appears regularly on baroque violin as a member of LA-based early music ensemble Tesserae. A dynamic recording artist, Vijay’s critically acclaimed discography includes an array of chamber music and solo works. His solo violin albums When the Violin and Transcendent Night are available under his own label, Vidya Projects.
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 holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Marist College, and a Master’s in Music from the Yale School of Music. Vijay plays a 2010 violin made by Los Angeles-based luthier Eric Benning, and an 18th century baroque violin from Mittenwald, Germany. He can be found on Instagram @guptaviolin.
Yamini Kalluri is a world-class professional Kuchipudi dancer based in New York City where she teaches, performs and trains full time. She offers performances, workshops, intensives and production direction internationally with an aim to bring a new face and a bigger representation to Kuchipudi globally.
Raised in Hyderabad, India, Yamini Kalluri has been celebrated by the New York Times and BBC as being a Kuchipudi sensation. A disciple of legendary guru, Padmasri Dr. Sobha Naidu, Yamini began exhibiting signs of her extraordinary talent and dedication to dance at a very early age. At the age of 12 she not only began performing throughout India but also began teaching at Dr. Sobha Naidu’s School. She went on to complete a certification course in Kuchipudi from Potti Sreeramulu Telugu University, Hyderabad with distinctions in 2013 and further refined her style under the mentorship of the renowned Kuchipudi guru Vempati Ravi Shankar. At 18 she began performing internationally at various prestigious festivals, offering workshops in the UK, the US, Russia, Argentina and Canada. A world-class dancer, Yamini is known for her grace, agility and uncompromising perfection. Aiming to bring a new face to Kuchipudi, her ambition and passion led her to move to New York where she now teaches, performs and trains in ballet and modern dance at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary dance full time. In exploring various disciplines of dance and music in the west Yamini has not only developed her own unique style and technique but has also expanded and diversified her dance repertoire by collaborating with many talented musicians.
Yamini has founded Kritya with the mission to empower up and coming artists to take Kuchipudi to global platforms. Yamini envisions a new school of thought for Kuchipudi with more awareness of the body, mind and soul. She is taking several nuances from ballet and modern dance to find her own technique and bring about a new age of Kuchipudi which is more relevant to a newer and global generation. Vempati Chinnasatyam , Rukmini Devi Arundale, Akram Khan and Shantala Shivalingappa are some of her inspirations when it comes to innovation for evolution. Yamini sees Kritya as a budding conservatory and incubatory for challenging experimentation and also as a means for dancers to immerse themselves to find their truest form of expression.
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: