LA Phil violinist brings music to those behind bars

Posted on: July 7, 2014

“About 150 audience members are listening rapt as Robert Vijay Gupta, acclaimed violinist for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and his colleague Zach Dellinger play a movement by Mozart for the violin and viola,” writes Tim Walker in Saturday’s (7/5) Independent (London). “Some of those watching nod their heads or tap their feet. Others close their eyes to appreciate the interplay of the two instruments. Unlike Mr. Gupta’s regular audience at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA, some of whom will pay more than £146 for a ticket, today’s crowd is hearing him play for free. But the assembled men in blue jumpsuits are not, themselves, free. They are all low-level offenders at the Pitchess Detention Center, about half an hour north of L.A. This is the 50th such gig Mr. Gupta, 26, has played at an LA county jail for Street Symphony, the non-profit organisation that he co-founded to bring live classical music to the imprisoned, the mentally ill, the homeless and other disadvantaged and disenfranchised members of southern California society.… They receive the same response from their audience as they would at Disney Hall: thunderous applause, and a standing ovation.”

Posted July 7, 2014

Pictured: Robert Vijay Gupta (at center) with musician colleagues at an LA County jail