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Steve Lopez: Violinist helps mentally ill, homeless through music

June 20, 2011 |  2:29 pm

Robert Vijay Gupta photographed in 2008 before a concert.

Steve LopezIt's hard to say what's more amazing about Robert Vijay Gupta.

Is it the talent we've come to appreciate since the violinist joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic four years ago at the age of 19?

Or is it his charitable giving?

Gupta, who happens to be a pal of mine and a great friend to my buddy Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, the Juilliard-trained musician who landed on skid row several years ago, has been giving free concerts for homeless veterans and people suffering from mental illness. And now he's about to record his first solo CD at Disney Hall, with proceeds supporting his nonprofit Street Symphony, which introduces live classical music to those who can't pay concert hall prices.

Gupta plans to play early and romantic European music and an Indian raga he's written himself. If you'd like to learn more about his mission or support his CD project, check out this link.


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-- Steve Lopez

Photo: Robert Vijay Gupta photographed in 2008 before a concert. Credit: Richard Hartog / Los Angeles Times