Violinist Robert Gupta joined the LA Philharmonic at the age of 19 — and maintains a passionate parallel interest in neurobiology and mental health issues. He's a TED Senior Fellow.

Why you should listen

Violinist Robert Vijay Gupta joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the age of 19. He made his solo debut, at age 11, with the Israel Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta. He has a Master's in music from Yale. But his undergraduate degree? Pre-med. As an undergrad, Gupta was part of several research projects in neuro- and neurodegenerative biology. He held Research Assistant positions at CUNY Hunter College in New York City, where he worked on spinal cord neuronal regeneration, and at the Harvard Institutes of Medicine Center for Neurologic Diseases, where he studied the biochemical pathology of Parkinson's disease.

Gupta is passionate about education and outreach, both as a musician and as an activist for mental health issues. He has the privilege of working with Nathaniel Ayers, the brilliant, schizophrenic musician featured in "The Soloist," as his violin teacher.

Robert Gupta’s TED talks

Robert Gupta on the TED Blog


Music, the mind, and medicine: A Q&A with Robert Gupta

October 2, 2012

Can music be a medical instrument? In a moving talk from TEDMed, Robert Gupta reveals that it certainly can be. He gives as an example the work of neuroscientist Gottfried Schlaug, one of the pioneers of melodic intonation therapy. Schlaug noticed that, while stroke victims with aphasia could not utter a sentence, they could still […]

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Quotes from Robert Gupta

This was the very reason why we made music: we take something that exists within all of us at our very fundamental core, our emotions, and through our artistic lens, through our creativity, we’re able to shape those emotions into reality.
Robert Gupta
TED2010 • 953K views Mar 2010
Inspiring, Beautiful
For those living in the most dehumanizing conditions … music offers a chance for them to transcend the world around them, to remember that they still have the capacity to experience something beautiful.
Robert Gupta
TEDMED 2012 • 818K views Oct 2012
Inspiring, Beautiful