The Lavin Agency Speakers Bureau

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Music speaks to people—touches people—in ways words alone cannot.

Founder of Street Symphony | Co-Founder of the Skid Row Arts Alliance | MacArthur Genius

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Street Symphony Project’s Future (1:51)

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Balancing Music, Teaching, and Community Connectivity (2:24)

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Learning to Transcend Our Vision of Each Other Through Music

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How Can Music Act as Medicine?

Lavin Exclusive Speaker

Music isn’t a form of entertainment, it’s a lifeline. For Vijay Gupta, all art is a kind of soul-metabolism: a way of transforming pain, grief and trauma into something which nourishes. Hailed by The New Yorker as a “visionary violinist” and “one of the most radical thinkers in the unradical world of American classical music,” Gupta creates spaces of wholeness and belonging through his work. In hopeful, healing talks, he shows us creative ways to revitalize our sense of hope and belonging.

“A master of music and medicine.”— The TODAY Show

Vijay Gupta is the founder and Artistic Director of Street Symphony, a nationally recognized pioneer in creating musical experiences for people in reentry from homelessness, addiction and incarceration. Since 2011 Street Symphony’s communities of artists have presented thousands of musical workshops, performances and lessons in Los Angeles shelters, clinics, county jails, state hospitals and prisons – delivering the music of classical, choral, Jazz, Reggae, Mariachi and West African drumming traditions to communities beyond the concert hall. Vijay believes that the transformation brought on by music is a “two-way symphony”: a pathway to mutual healing.

Vijay is a celebrated violinist, curator and music director, performing as an international recitalist, soloist, chamber and orchestral musician for over 20 years. Vijay served as a member of the first violin section of the Los Angeles Philharmonic for 12 years, and was the 2023 Artist in Residence at Music Worcester. He is a founding member of the Darshan Piano Trio, and is a member of Tesserae Baroque. A dynamic recording artist, Vijay’s critically acclaimed discography includes an array of chamber music and solo works. He was named to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2024.

A riveting speaker, Vijay has shared his work and music with dozens of corporations, campuses, conferences and communities across America over the past 10 years, including The Richmond Forum, The Aspen Institute, Hallmark, Accenture, Mayo Clinic, US Psychiatric Congress, American Planning Association, and the League of American Orchestras, just to name a few. His three TED talks have garnered millions of views. He is the author of a forthcoming memoir on the intersection of loss, hope, and music.


Wonderful! Moving, evocative, thought-provoking, inspirational. It is this kind of presentation that moves people to action.

British Columbia Non-Profit Housing Association

Vijay was a sheer delight. He was not only an incredible storyteller/entertainer/inspiration, he was flexible and easy to work with. I don’t know how to talk about his joining the Nashville Symphony and becoming a part of our community here, but I’m scheming about it!

Porters Call

[We were so thrilled to] meet the amazingly talented, delightful, and inspirational Vijay Gupta. I have already had emails from Texas Tech Music faculty thanking me for the wonderful evening. One man told me last night that it was the best event he had ever attended on the Tech campus. We over-use the word “brilliant” nowadays, but in Vijay’s case, it fits. Thank you!

Texas Tech University

Speech Topics

Corporate Culture
The Artist’s WayBuilding a Creative Workplace in a Post-Covid World
Despite the chaos and turmoil of 2020, it offered us a much-needed invitation to reflect on the kind of world we want to live in. We’ve seen a reevaluation of what is essential in our societies; a renewed discovery of the value of deep, creative work; and a greater appreciation balancing solitude and our connection with the world. Businesses, too, have been offered a chance to rethink not only how they operate, but how they can connect with their employees in a more meaningful way. Helping them reimagine everything from leadership to creativity, are artists like Vijay Gupta.
In his powerful and eye-opening talk, Vijay—a world-renowned violinist—applies his experience in musical performance, education, and community engagement, including 10+ years of managing his non-profit Street Symphony, to the corporate world. His unique background helps leaders, managers, and executives at all levels answer some of their most burning questions. How can we transition from a top-down model of leadership, into one that follows the artistic tradition of decentralization and collaboration? How can we continue to seek excellence and achievement in our work without losing sight of our greater purpose? And how can we create spaces of belonging in the workplace, allowing people to show up as their most authentic selves?
Complete with a musical Q&A session, this one-of-a-kind talk shows leaders how they can build the type of trust that allows creativity and innovation to emerge.
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Activism & Humanitarianism
Heal Yourself, Change the WorldA Musical Conversation with Vijay Gupta
Through grief, loss, and collective trauma—how do we begin to heal ourselves and create the post-COVID world? For celebrated violinist and social justice advocate Vijay Gupta, the answer unsurprisingly begins with music. At his nonprofit Street Symphony, Vijay uses music to show us the power we have to heal ourselves, inspire others, and provoke meaningful change. And by moving away from a hierarchical “outreach” model, and into one of collaboration and engagement, he helps facilitate experiences of mutual reciprocity, wholeness, and belonging.
Today, Vijay works tirelessly to inspire citizen artistry across America and around the world. This spontaneous and engaging talk not only offers a real-time musical exploration with Gupta, but the building blocks for transforming our own communities—gleaned from years of on-the-ground experience working with some of societies’ most vulnerable populations. Change starts small, says Vijay. It can begin with something as simple as a daily artistic practice, a creative habit. But over time, that small commitment to our creativity will blossom and ripple through our communities in a way that connects us to our greater humanity.
As Vijay says, “With every breath, every brush stroke, every word, every note, we cast a vote for the future we want to create.” Compassionate and courageous, this talk is essential listening as we begin to build the new world we want to live in.
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Mental Health and Fitness
The Medicine of Music

In this talk, Vijay Gupta explores the connection between music and mental health, explaining why music’s redemptive power may hold more potential than we realize. Vijay draws from his work as director of Street Symphony—a musical engagement non-profit—to illustrate how music can help bring people back from the brink of their darkest times. How does music speak to people in ways language cannot? Why is music education vitally important, especially to those who are most in need? Erudite, eloquent, and passionate, Vijay shows audiences that music isn’t just something to be enjoyed—it’s something that can change lives.

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Grit at School
Why Music Education is Essential

Vijay Gupta believes strongly that music should be a fundamental element in an educational curriculum, beyond an extracurricular hobby or even a medium to facilitate instruction in other fields, such as math or science. In this talk, he shares his personal journey in music education, tying in his experiences as a young musician struggling to find the meaning in music with the lack of programs and support, as well as the stigma he faced at choosing between a career as a “responsible person” in science and a career in his life’s passion, music. That stigma still exists around music and the arts. Vijay believes music educators are true pioneers in the kind of human education that will shape the kind of empathic and compassionate socially connected lives that our world demands of our young people. Music gives us these human tools, says Vijay—the relational discipline grounded in passion that truly can affect change in the world around us.

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