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Violinist Vijay Gupta joined the L. A. Philharmonic at age 19 and keeps a passionate interest in neurobiology and mental health. He will speak and perform at the Arden Theatre on Thursday

Vijay Gupta at Arden

Vijay Gupta, an ardent advocate of music and its effects on people, is visiting St. Albert’s Arden Theatre as part of the Speaker’s Series on Feb 4.

Through his passion for neurobiology and mental health issues, the acclaimed violinist is an influential champion for the healing power of music.

A TED Senior Fellow and member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gupta shares how music has the ability to change our brains, heal ailments and ultimately transform our lives.

In his role as founder and artistic director of Street Symphony, Gupta shows how underserved men and women on skid row can be brought back from the brink through music.

He speaks about his friend Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, a double bass musician that once studied at Julliard before a nervous breakdown led to institutionalization and life on the streets.

Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez met Ayers, and after discovering his background, wrote several columns and a book about him. The book was eventually made into the movie, The Soloist, starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr.

For Gupta, music is more than entertainment. It is the food of life.

The evening starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $40 plus facility fee. Call 780-459-1542 or at ticketmaster.ca.

Wanted … director

St. Albert playwright David Haas has penned a new play, Wolfman Crossing, and he’s searching for a director to take it to the Edmonton Fringe Festival.

Wolfman Crossing’s premiere is slated to run Aug. 11 to 21 at Holy Trinity Church, a long-time popular venue for theatre aficionados.

The 60-minute fantasy/sci-fi script is about vanishings. Eight hitchhikers in seven years have disappeared along a heavily forested northern Alberta highway. Local legend talks about a murderous shape-changing fiend.

But it takes a chance encounter between a highway courier and an investigative reporter up from Los Angeles to reveal the surprising truth.

To contact Haas, email david.haas@live.com.

Pro Coro joins Luminous Voices

Edmonton’s Pro Coro collaborates with Calgary’s Luminous Voices for Rachmaninoff – Ancient Echoes on Sunday, Jan. 31 at Winspear Centre.

The combined 50 voices will sing the popular Sergei Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil and Alfred Schnittke’s Concert for Choir. In addition, they are performing lesser-known works from Aleksandr Sheremetev, Arturs Maskats and Ukrainian Canadian composer Roman Hurko catalogue.

Tickets for the 2:30 p.m. concert are $33 to $49.50. Call 780-428-1414 or online at winspearcentre.com.

Anna Borowiecki: Anna Borowiecki joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2000. She reports on local people and events in the arts, entertainment and food industry. She also writes general news and features.