Letter from the Director
Street Symphony was founded in 2011, when I met Nathaniel Ayers, the subject of the book and subsequent movie, “The Soloist”. As I played my violin with Nathaniel in the streets of Los Angeles – from the steps of Disney Hall to the courtyards of Skid Row – I couldn’t help but ask: “How many more Nathaniels are out here?”
In the course of over 300 Street Symphony programs in the last 6 years, we’ve met thousands of talented, vibrant, resilient people. In County Jails and Skid Row shelters, we’ve brought the gifts of glorious music – Jazz, Klezmer, choral masterpieces, classical string quartets. And we’ve received enormous gifts in return from people disenfranchised by homelessness, poverty, and incarceration: our audiences remind us why we ever became musicians in the first place.
As we make space to receive and hold the stories of disenfranchised people, we discover, restore and transform our vital role as artists and citizens. We’ve discovered that people are
more than their condition, or their worst moment. We discover that if we make space for the creative and expressive life of all people – we find our own story and meaning in the process.
We are here to listen, to tell stories, and to ask questions. I hope you’ll join us. Support the work of Street Symphony today. Discover your story.
Vijay Gupta, MM, LHD
Founder and Director, Street Symphony
Violin, Los Angeles Philharmonic
Assistant Professor, Longy School of Music of Bard College, Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT)
2016 Citizen Artist Fellow, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts