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Press Releases

The Wallis Presents Digital Series Featuring Violinist Vijay Gupta and Composer Reena Esmail

October 14, 2020 | By Libby Huebner
Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts presents a four-part digital series featuring violinist Vijay Gupta, cellist Peter Myers and pianist Suzana Bartal performing composer Reena Esmail’s Piano Trio, which blurs the boundaries between Indian and Western classical music. The broadcasts, each featuring one of the chamber works’ four movements, offered online over a four-week period, on Thursdays, October 29, November 5, 12 and 19, 2020, at 5:00 pm (PDT). The broadcasts also include comments by the artists, who last appeared together live at The Wallis in February 2020, performing the Piano Trio, among other works by Esmail.


Esmail’s Piano Trio was commissioned by Town Hall Seattle and was premiered on November 25, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. Regarding the work, she says, “My musical world is influenced as much by the Western canon as it is by Hindustani (North Indian) classical music and each movement of this trio is a confluence of Hindustani and Western musical elements. Imagine if you could say a single sentence, but it could be understood simultaneously in two different languages – that is what I aim to create through my music.”

Esmail adds, “My mission involves joining communities with one another through music by creating spaces where cross-cultural dialogue can begin. As I grew up bilingual in English and Gujarati, I felt drawn to explore the connection between these two sides of myself through the lens of music which occupies different areas of the same musical space, coexists beautifully and overlaps without detracting from one another.”


MacArthur "Genius" Gupta, an esteemed performer, communicator, and citizen-artist, is a leading advocate for the role of the arts and music to heal, inspire, provoke change, and foster social connection. After joining the Los Angeles Philharmonic at age 19 and serving as a member of the first violin section through 2018, he founded Street Symphony and serves as Artistic Director of the non-profit organization, which provides musical engagement, dialogue and teaching artistry for homeless and incarcerated communities in Los Angeles. New Yorker critic Alex Ross has described Gupta as "one of the most radical thinkers in the unradical world of American classical music” and Time magazine selected Gupta as one of their Time 100 NEXT list of rising stars who are shaping the future of business, entertainment, sports, politics, science, health and more.


"Vijay Gupta and Reena Esmail are two remarkable, internationally acclaimed, game-changing Los Angeles artists and collaborators,” says The Wallis’ Artistic Director Paul Crewes. “This streaming series connecting the musical languages of two different cultures is an extension of The Wallis’ deep commitment to presenting Los Angeles-based artists and programming that reflects the city’s diversity. We are proud to support their work in both music and social justice.”


Registration to the free broadcasts can be accessed at




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