2023 Artist-in-Residence: Vijay Gupta, violin

For its Residency program in 2023, Music Worcester welcomed violinist Vijay Gupta, MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipient and founder of LA-based Street Symphony.

Since 2012, Music Worcester has significantly increased its community engagement and educational programming to include visiting artist masterclasses and week-long residencies at Worcester Public Schools, as well as free admission to its performances through our Tickets to Opportunity Program.

In planning for 2023 calendar year, Music Worcester approached Vijay Gupta to serve as its second artist-in-residence.  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. 

Throughout the 2023 calendar year, Gupta delivered a series of recitals and performances, including collaborative presentations with The Worcester Chorus, Worcester Youth Orchestra, OpperTUNEity, The Worcester County Jail and House of Corrections.

These anchor performances were augmented with outreach in local middle and high schools, masterclass opportunities for college students, and coaching for young artists.

Gupta’s residency concluded with a public performance at Mechanics Hall on November 10 titled This Love Between Us. This program featured works by J. S. Bach and composer Reena Esmail, who joined Gupta for the final week of his Music Worcester Residency and delivered a joint pre-concert lecture with Gupta that evening. 


Click each title to read the full article:

Taking a look at Music Worcester’s 2022-23 season — orchestras, banjos, dance and seats to be filled
Richard Duckett, Telegram & Gazette (Aug 5, 2022)

Violinist Vijay Gupta ready to share the power of music as Music Worcester artist-in-residence
Richard Duckett, Telegram & Gazette (Jan 20, 2023)


College of the Holy Cross: Gupta and cimbalom artist Chester Englander performed Mirror/Lens at the Prior Performing Arts Center at the College of the Holy Cross on March 2, 2023. While on campus, Gupta took hosted masterclasses, individual coaching sessions, and student meetings.

India Society of Worcester: Gupta visited India Society of Worcester to speak and play for the youth group and parents. A lengthy question and answer period allowed children to learn about Gupta’s background.

Living in Freedom Together (LIFT): Vijay Gupta and dance performer Yamini Kullari visited LIFT and met with program members.  The pair also ran songwriting and movement workshops with survivors.

Nativity School of Worcester: Gupta and Darshan Trio members Dominic Cheli and Yoshi Masuda visited Nativity for an all school gathering.  The musicians spoke at length to students as well as performing both as individuals and together.

OpperTUNEity: Deep partnership with OpperTUNEity allowed Gupta to be part of the weekly songwriting workshop with inmates at the Worcester County House of Corrections in person and virtually.  Songs from current and past workshops were performed via video in Mechanics Hall as part of Gupta’s When the Violin performance in May.  Gupta also joined inmates at their own end of semester concert and performed for families inside the Worcester County Jail and House of Corrections where he played “backup” as original songs were performed.

Westborough Public Schools: Gupta and members of The Darshan Trio, along with Yamini Kullari, visited Sarah Gibbons middle school in September 2023 for a talk and performance.  Gupta performed works by Reena Esmail with Concert Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra along with Chamber Singers at a special November 2023 concert, where he was joined by Esmail.

Worcester County Jail and House of Corrections: Gupta performed in person as well as via live stream at the Worcester County Jail and House of Corrections.  He also work, through the OpperTUNEity partnership, directly with inmates.  Gupta engaged with former inmates to participate in storytelling at performances throughout his residency. 

The Worcester Chorus: Gupta joined the The Worcester Chorus and artistic director Chris Shepard to perform  in November 2023 at Mechanics Hall including.  Repertoire included Bach’s Magnificat as well as Reena Esmail’s This Love Between Us.  Gupta and Esmail gave a pre concert lecture prior to the performance.

Worcester Institute for Senior Education (WISE): Gupta and composer Reena Esmail delivered a talk at Assumption University to WISE members and guests discussing her major piece This Love Between Us and its connection to Bach’s Magnificat

Worcester Public School: Vijay Gupta partnered with multiple Worcester Public Schools to speak with students, take part in masterclasses, play, coach and more.

Worcester Youth Orchestra: Gupta joined members of the Worcester Youth Orchestra in May 2022 to celebrate their 75th anniversary, performing Vivaldi’s Concerto for 4 Violins.  Gupta took part in coaching members and mentorship as well.

Worcester State University: Gupta delivered a keynote address on music and citizenship to students of WSU’s Interdisciplinary Studies program in the spring.  In November, Gupta and composer Reena Esmail gave a talk titled Bridges Between: Creating Music Across Cultures.

Mirror/Lens | Vijay Gupta (violin) with Chester Englander (cimbalom) & John Wayne Cormier, Jr. (narration)
A co-production with Prior Performing Arts Center at College of the Holy Cross
Photography by Troy B. Thompson

Music Worcester thanks the following sponsors for their support of this residency program:

Carole Edelstein & Bruce Bursten
Mary & Warner Fletcher
Lisa Kirby Gibbs & Peter Gibbs
Emily & James Holdstein
Samantha McDonald & Ossian Cooney
Marlene & David Persky
Cynthia & Stephen Pitcher
Carol Seager
Lynne & George Tonna
Mass Cultural Council logo

Simone Dinnerstein, 2018-2019 Artist-In-Residence ...

I’ve always had a dream … to be able to work in multiple schools and return to them to develop relationships with certain classes and certain schools.  I think that everything Music Worcester is doing, not just with me, is about mking classical  music a vital part of life. And that’s what it should be, not just a genteel afternoon out.  It’s something that is giving us sustenance, in a way.