Vijay Gupta Creates Connection Through Music

SUU welcomed speaker Vijay Gupta this Oct. 3 at 11:30 a.m. in the Great Hall. Gupta is a violinist and social justice advocate, holding a master’s degree in violin performance from the Yale School of Music. 

On behalf of the Grace A. Tanner Center for Human Values, Gupta was invited to speak and share his experiences on the topic of connection as the director of  “Street Symphony” and as an “advocate for artistic voices at the center of social justice.” 

According to their mission statement, Street Symphony places social justice at the heart of music making by creating authentic, powerful engagements between professional and emerging artists and communities disenfranchised by homelessness and incarceration in Los Angeles County. 

Gupta greeted the audience by saying, “Namaste,” and playing a piece composed by “the love of his life.” The piece had a mysterious and passionate feel, and Gupta responded to the loud round of applause by saying, “You are giving me the greatest gift I could ever receive, which is attention.” 

Gupta got the audience thinking with this question, “How do we show up to the world around us and how do we make that connection with other people?” He continued to voice his thoughts on the world we are living in and how we are living in it. 

“We live in a world of pain where we ache for our souls to catch up with the pace of our lives. We’ve gotten lost in a pathology of speed,” Gupta said.

Gupta expressed that he personally makes connections with the 60,000 homeless people that live in downtown Los Angeles through music. The director showed videos of certain activities he has held for the people of Skid Row, some of which include the Block Party, Music for Change, and the Messiah Project. To view those videos and learn more about the projects, click here

“We need the arts more than ever to end this apathy. Your life is a work of art. We need to commit to ourselves every day and show up.” 

Gupta ended his time by asking members of the audience to join in song, and challenged us all to end the indifference and apathy we house within ourselves in regards to the problems around us.

The next A.P.E.X event will be held Oct. 10 in the Great Hall at 11:30 a.m. The Utah Court of Appeals sessions will be heard live.


Story by: Elizabeth Armstrong