Violinist shares songs, stories of music's power around suburbs

 
 
Updated 2/27/2018 8:58 PM
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  • Vijay Gupta, founder of Street Symphony and violinist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, talks about the healing power of music Tuesday to students at Waubonsie Valley High School in Aurora. "I give you the same message that I was given, which is that you need to do what makes you leap out of bed in the morning," Gupta said. "That's the only thing you have to do. You owe it to yourselves."

      Vijay Gupta, founder of Street Symphony and violinist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, talks about the healing power of music Tuesday to students at Waubonsie Valley High School in Aurora. "I give you the same message that I was given, which is that you need to do what makes you leap out of bed in the morning," Gupta said. "That's the only thing you have to do. You owe it to yourselves." Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Vijay Gupta, founder of Street Symphony and violinist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra, shows a video Tuesday of his mentor, Christopher Mack and the Urban Voices Project, as he gives a talk and performance at Waubonsie Valley High School in Aurora.

      Vijay Gupta, founder of Street Symphony and violinist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra, shows a video Tuesday of his mentor, Christopher Mack and the Urban Voices Project, as he gives a talk and performance at Waubonsie Valley High School in Aurora. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Vijay Gupta, founder of Street Symphony and violinist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, answers a question Tuesday posed by Waubonsie Valley High School student Tristan Peterson. Gupta spoke and performed pieces by Bach on Monday and Tuesday at three Indian Prairie Unit District 204 high schools and for the public at North Central College in Naperville.

      Vijay Gupta, founder of Street Symphony and violinist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, answers a question Tuesday posed by Waubonsie Valley High School student Tristan Peterson. Gupta spoke and performed pieces by Bach on Monday and Tuesday at three Indian Prairie Unit District 204 high schools and for the public at North Central College in Naperville. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Vijay Gupta, founder of Street Symphony and violinist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, tells students Tuesday at Waubonsie Valley High School in Aurora not to base their entire self-definition on accomplishments. "We are never going to feel like we are enough," he said, "if we only define ourselves by what we do."

      Vijay Gupta, founder of Street Symphony and violinist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, tells students Tuesday at Waubonsie Valley High School in Aurora not to base their entire self-definition on accomplishments. "We are never going to feel like we are enough," he said, "if we only define ourselves by what we do." Daniel White | Staff Photographer

Music has the power to heal, California violinist Vijay Gupta is telling several Naperville-area audiences this week.

He would know.

Gupta, a violinist for the Los Angeles Philharmonic who joined the organization 11 years ago at age 19, founded Street Symphony to help homeless and incarcerated people by letting them hear professional-quality live musical performances.

In speeches Monday and Tuesday at the three high schools in Indian Prairie Unit District 204 and at North Central College, Gupta shared stories about music's power to inspire and create hope.

For his high school audiences, he used those stories to encourage students to do what they love, despite the pressures to achieve.

"The life that you care about, the things that you want to bring into the world -- they are already there," Gupta said Tuesday at Waubonsie Valley High School in Aurora. "The rest of your life is just a matter of opening those doors so you can realize what is already there."

Woven in with his stories, which he has shared as a TED Senior Fellow for the TED Talks ideas series, Gupta performed pieces by Bach as illustrations of what music can do.

"What I'm here to tell you," he said, "is that as artists, as musicians, we are actually responsible for showing the rest of the word what it means to be a human being. What it means to simply be."

Students at Waubonsie along with Metea and Neuqua Valley high schools got to hear Gupta first, before he gave a free public performance Tuesday night in Wentz Hall at North Central. He also is scheduled to speak and play Wednesday for students in Naperville Unit District 203.

• Daily Herald staff photographer Daniel White contributed to this report.

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