Archive | June 1, 2012

Delivering Music Therapeutics to the Homeless

Delivering Music Therapeutics to the Homeless


Where can you find 50,000 homeless people on the streets any night of the week exposed to all the elements as well as human brutality – Skid Row, Los Angeles, U.S.!

We don’t hear about them often in the mainstream press, as many of us manage to maintain a certain image of America in our minds as thousands become unemployed, homeless, are falsely imprisoned (50% of whom which are African-American) on a daily basis.

But there you have it, Skid Row, Los Angeles, where Robert Gupta’s Street Symphony has been operating reminding us that life is more than just bread and butter.

The aim is to create the therapeutic experience of listening to classical music live to the destitute who are mentally ill!

May 16, 2012, in the center of Skid Row is the Mental Health Center, the exterior of which twines rusty coils of razor wire. In the make shift auditorium set up in the basement lined with 30 waiting room chairs, the attendees were not uniformly dressed to the standards of any opera house. Instead these attendees were wearing jeans, sweatpants and baseall caps. These attendees with faces hardened  by life do not have homes to go to – some are addicts, and some are seriously mentally ill.

For a moment something ‘other’ entered their lives, gained their full attention mind, body and soul. Transfixed to the violinist who passionately conjures up musical notes with his bow bringing forth the Boccherini Duo for Violin and Cello as if calling forth a memory.

“It takes me away from the situation,” adding, “I’m not out there seeing the chaos that I live around. Here, I’m listening to something that soothes my spirit, ” said one member of Skid Row, Diana Dow to College News.

Gupta’s inspiration for Street Symphony began in 2008 when he met Nathaniel Ayers, an African American resident of the Men’s Project at Skids Row. Ayers, a talented and Juilliard-educated double bass player found himself homeless due to severe mental illness. Gupta and Ayers had long discussions about the music of Schumann and Beethoven, which led to Gupta giving Ayers violin lessons. However, during one of those lessons, Gupta witnessed firsthand the levity of Ayer’s illness, diagnosed paranoid schizophrenia. As Ayers went into a manic episode, Gupta resorted to the only means he had, his violin. As Gupta played, Ayers muttered less, and calmed down enough to start playing with Gupta. It was then Gupta questioned if music could have the same effect on others.

Only 24 years old, the American born Bangladeshi Robert Vijay Gupta has used the gifts that has been bequeathed to him, and honored them. Fluent in 3 languages, Gupta has a Master’s degree in Music from Yale University, a Bachelor’s degree in biology from Marist College, and became a member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in June 2007 when he was only 19. He has performed as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic, the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Bombay Symphony Orchestra.

“My challenge has been to go into these places where there is no access to music,” Gupta told GOOD News

“In these spaced the music takes on a new meaning.” Barriers come down. Veterans who suffer from PTSD and appear “glazed over” begin to connect emotionally with the music. “I feel like we’re doing something profoundly important, profoundly beautiful, and profoundly therapeutic as well.”

Gupta has held 17 street symphony concerts since Street Synphony was officially established in 2011.  The team of socially conscious musicians and board members consists of:

  • Co-founder, Adrian Hong, a human rights activist focused on North Korean liberty
  • Antonio Damasio, a neuroscientist interested in the therapeutic affects of music
  • Co-founder, Adam Crane vice president for External Affairs of the St. Louis Symphony
  • Artistic advisor, Yana Reznik
  • Community Programs  Coordinator, Zachary Dellinger
  • Clarinet, Benjamin Lulich
  • Viola, Carrie Dennis
  • Violin, Jin-Shan Dai
  • Violin, Mitchell Newman
  • Cello, Daniel Rothmuller
  • Cello, Barry Gold
  • Oboe, Aaron Hill

Their approach:

“Street Symphony is an ensemble of musical activists – socially conscious artists dedicated to delivering the tremendous therapeutic power of live classical music to mentally ill individuals living in deeply impoverished, disenfranchised communities in Los Angeles. To these individuals living in the dehumanizing conditions of homelessness and incarceration, the committed musicians of Street Symphony restore hope and humanity through the transcendent powers of great music – they remind these audiences that they still have the capacity to experience something beautiful, and that they carry that very spark of beauty – of creativity and connectedness, empathy and humanity – of true healing – within their very selves.” Street Symphony

In these times now, more than ever, the role of musicians and artists needs to be redirected towards the original purpose of music, to enlighten, inform and elucidate, inspire, transform, transcend and heal!


“Street Symphony Brings Some of the World’s Greatest Musicians to Skid Row.”

Related Topics:

14-Year Old Conductor Takes the Stage

Youth Inventor Wins Environmental Award

Learning and Achieving Outside the Education System

A Student Embraces the Spanish Youth Revolution

The Youth’s Day of Anger

Stepping Back to Afrika!

The Underground Economy: Using the Gift of Music

The Redemption “Songs” of Muslim Youth

Germany Proving there is a Sustainable Energy Alternative

Germany Proving there is a Sustainable Energy Alternative


By Hwaa Irfan

This is in fact nothing new, it has been proven so many times, the most memorable of all being Tesla, the guy J. Pierpont Morgan withdrew financial backing from, because Tesla’s discovery would mean less profits, and less power for American corporations – members of the global financial elite.

But, here, in the 21st century, in the modern industrialized developed country of Germany, at a time when the U.S. is running around the world trying to buy up every last drop of petroleum, an environmentally friendly, sustainable standard is being facilitated through the use of solar energy.

The equivalent of 20 nuclear power stations with no nuclear waste or consequences, Germany’s solar power plants are producing 22 gigawatts of electricity per hour. Learning the lessons from Fukushima nuclear disaster 2011, Germany set a new agenda, to rid the country of all nuclear plants

This is not helped or encouraged by Chancellor Angela Merkel calling subsidies to solar energy a ‘money pit’ after all each new idea needs support of all kinds until it can prove itself, and in the case of Germany’s alternative energy program, solar energy has proven its worth.

Does the sun shine in the daytime everywhere, or only in the Sahara, the reference used to downplay the virtue of developing solar energy – day time = soalr energy and night time = using solar energy that has been stored in the daytime and healthier sleeping patterns.

But what can you expect from disgruntled capitalists who want more of what the Earth is growing increasingly tired of submitting to.

The 22 gigawatts of electricity per hour record Germany has been able to achieve is supplied at greatest consumer demand i.e. mid-day Fridays and Saturdays. The 22 gigawatts of photovoltaic electricity was fed into the main grid meeting 50% of the demand ona  weekend, and a third on a weekday.

To those who say renewable energy is not reliabel enough, one asks about the increasing power cuts experienced in developed countries, and the fact that petroleum in all its forms will not last for ever, for when it runs out, it runs out!

There will be arguments for and arguments against, but until those arguments are honest about what it takes (on all levels) to run electricity as we have known it, and electricity from solar energy, and what the consequences are, the way forward will always remain unclear.

As it is, consumers are paying for something that they do not really have to pay for, if the basis for supply of energy is maintaining the wealth and power of corporations – the global financial elite with its dispensable workforce. The concept and inventions that went with free renewable energy was sileneced by the likes of J. P. Morgan and Rockefeller in order to ensure the future of Thomson-Houston and Edison General Electric which became the General Electric Company.

Maybe J. P Morgan the corporation is looking to redeem itself via its automobile venture Tesla Motors, but that is not enough!

  • 1895, the Westinghouse Company and Nicola Tesla built the first hydroelectric alternating current system at Niagara Falls
  • 1899 Tesla demonstrated the feasibility of transmitting electricity through the earth without the use of wires in Pike’s Peak, Colorado,
  • He also discovered that  tremendously destructive forces could be unleashed in the earth by means  of uncontrolled electrical resonance.

In an 1899 interview with Chauncy Montgomery M’Govern, Tesla revealed his invention on how to mobilize solar energy:

” none of these amount to anything–they are of no value to the great world of science. But come over here and I will show you something that will make a big revolution in every business and home as soon as I am able to get the thing into working form,” and then he leads the way through a forest of queer-looking discs and mysterious coils of copper and steel, until the party reaches a raised wall of masonry, on which reposes a long cylinder of glass filled with water, and surrounded by a circle of large mirrors. The roof over this apparatus is of glass, and as the sun pours its rays through this, the rays strike the mirrors and are reflected again towards the glass cylinder, magnifying glasses intensifying the heat of the rays before they strike the cylinder.

“This is the experimental model of the apparatus with which I hope some day to so harness the rays of the sun that heavenly body will operate every machine in our factories, propel every train and carriage in our streets, and do all the cooking in our homes, as well as furnish all the light that man may need by night as well as by day. It will, in short, replace all wood and coal as a producer of motive power and heat and electric lighting

The plan of Nikola Tesla to harness the rays of the sun to do man’s bidding is probably the boldest engineering feat that he or anyone else has ever attempted. Though the idea is so great, its principle is so simple that a schoolboy can readily comprehend it. It consists of concentrating the heat of the sun on one spot (the glass cylinder) by the series of complicated mirrors and magnifying glasses until the resulting heat is something terrific.

J. P Morgan underwent a process of entrapment to bring down Tesla. If J. P Morgan is really going under and it is not just a ruse, we pray for future and current inventors who struggle to pave the way for a world that is better than this for all including the environment in which we live!


M’Govern, C.M. “Chauncy Montgomery M’Govern. The New Wizard of the West.”’sFreeEnergyRevealed/HarnessingTheRaysOfTheSun.htm

“Tesla Biography.”

Turley, J. “Germany Hits Record In Solar Power With 50% Of Energy During Mid-Day Hours.”

Related Topics:

Tesla: The Inventor Who was a National Security Threat!

Occupy World: From Fracking to Questionable Renewable Energy!

Drilling for Water Greens the Saudi Deserts

Electro-Smog and the Shift of Ages

Do You Suffer from Electro-Sensitivity!