MacArthur ‘Genius’ Vijay Gupta on a traumatic childhood and finally being ‘seen’

LA Philharmonic violinist Vijay Gupta recently won a MacArthur “genius” grant, which are for people who show “exceptional creativity in their work.” He’s known for launching Street Symphony, a nonprofit that brings classical music to Skid Row, homeless shelters, and the LA County jail. Gupta says the award is overwhelming, and comes at a vulnerable time -- during a big life transition. He explains that now, he can finally write his own rules and choose his own excellence. He didn’t have many choices as a kid, raised by Indian immigrant parents in New York.

LA Philharmonic violinist Vijay Gupta performing at KCRW. Photo by Amy Ta.