LA Phil musicians and others play “Messiah” on Skid Row, with homeless musicians and singers

Posted on: January 2, 2018

“Street Symphony, a group of professional musicians, mostly from the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the L.A. Master Chorale, works with homeless, mentally ill, and incarcerated populations,” writes Alex Ross in Monday’s (1/1) New Yorker. “Each year, the group performs an abridged version of Handel’s ‘Messiah’ at the Midnight Mission, a charitable institution on Skid Row,” with performers including homeless individuals. Street Symphony was founded by LA Phil violinist Vijay Gupta, “one of the most radical thinkers in the unradical world of American classical music. With Street Symphony, he has created a formidable new model for how musical institutions should engage with the world around them…. The first performance of ‘Messiah,’ in Dublin, in 1742, was, according to a contemporary announcement, presented ‘for the Relief of the Prisoners in the several Gaols.’ Proceeds from the première helped the Charitable Musical Society to free a hundred and forty-two people from debtors’ prison. Street Symphony’s ‘Messiah’ therefore comes closer to the original spirit of the piece than most modern versions do.”

Posted January 2, 2018