Keynote Speaker

Visionary Violinist Vijay Gupta to Speak at Banquet

Renowned violinist and social justice advocate Vijay Gupta will help honor Oklahoma’s outstanding public school students and educators when he delivers the keynote address at the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence Academic Awards Banquet on Saturday, May 21, at the Omni Oklahoma City Hotel.

Gupta’s address can also be viewed during the Academic Awards Banquet broadcast at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 28, or 10 a.m. Sunday, May 29, on OETA Public Television.

Gupta has earned national attention for his work as founder and artistic director of Street Symphony, a nonprofit providing musical engagement, dialogue and teaching artistry for homeless and incarcerated communities in Los Angeles. Gupta also co-founded the Skid Row Arts Alliance, a collaboration of art-centered organizations that bring hope and healing through the arts to the residents of Skid Row, a heavily impoverished community in Los Angeles. For his work in “bringing beauty, respite and purpose to those all too often ignored by society,” Gupta received the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship in 2018.

Praising Gupta as a “visionary violinist,” Allan Ross of the New Yorker wrote, “With Street Symphony, he has created a formidable new model for how musical institutions should engage with the world around them.”

Gupta has performed as an international recitalist, soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral musician for more than 20 years, playing his solo debut with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra at the age of 11. He was a member of the first violin section of the Los Angeles Philharmonic for 12 years, and has collaborated with the Kronos Quartet, the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, and Yo-Yo Ma. Gupta also appears regularly with the Strings Festival in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
A dynamic recording artist, Gupta recently released “Breathe,” an album of the piano chamber music of Reena Esmail, under his own label. His solo album “When the Violin,” also recently released, featured the music of Esmail, J. S. Bach, and Esa-Pekka Salonen. The album was created during the quarantine as a means of transforming people’s collective pain into a restorative, healing narrative.

Gupta currently serves as the senior artistic and programs advisor for Young Musicians Foundation. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Marist College, and a master’s degree in music from the Yale School of Music.