Street Symphony, making musical connections with residents of LA’s Skid Row for more than a decade

Posted on: June 28, 2022

Vijay Gupta (left) with professional musicians in Street Symphony at the Midnight Mission on LA’s Skid Row; the mission provides meals, showers, shelter, and other support. Photo: David Zimmerman

“Some of the most beautiful music being performed in Los Angeles right now is happening on Skid Row,” writes Neda Ulaby in Monday’s (6/27) National Public Radio. “Street Symphony is an organization bringing professional musicians to clinics, homeless shelters and jails clustered in and around one of the most devastating concentrations of urban poverty in the United States…. [Street Symphony] Founder Vijay Gupta … first became aware of Skid Row after joining the LA Philharmonic as a 19-year-old violin prodigy. The orchestra’s dazzling steel-clad concert hall is located about a mile and a half away…. Gupta came up with the idea of Street Symphony [in 2011]…. Luis Garcia, who is now on Street Symphony’s board … was counseling mentally ill parolees on Skid Row when he first met Gupta. Garcia found himself impressed by an organization that did more than drop in, play a little music, then leave…. [At] a recent Street Symphony performance … 75-year-old Linda Leigh, a longtime Skid Row resident … told a rapt audience about getting a key to her very own room … and how moved she was to find two chocolates awaiting on her bed…. ‘This work has taught me to expect miracles,’ said Gupta.”