Vijay Upadhyaya was born in Lucknow, India. He studied at the Music University in Graz, Austria and pursued diploma studies in Indian percussion and dance in India. He also has a Bachelor of Arts in English literature, economics and history.
In 1994 he became director of the Vienna University Philharmony. This involves the annual coordination of approximately 50 concerts for nine choirs, two orchestras and six conductors.
Since 2009 he has been conductor and composer for the Chinese National Orchestra and Chorus, who commissioned him to write his 2nd Symphony, “Chang’An Men”, in 2016. This is the first large commission awarded by the People’s Republic of China to a non-Chinese composer. In addition he is an expert appointed by the Chinese government in connection with developing cultural activities in China.
His 1st Symphony, “Prayer Flags”, was premiered in 2014 and is a milestone in his musical development. The work is based on Indian literature and melodies.
He is the Austrian representative on the jury of experts for the evaluation of European Union culture projects and is the founder and artistic director of the India National Youth Orchestra.
He has organized/overseen/initiated projects at the State Opera, the Musikverein and Konzerthaus in Vienna, the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Academia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, the Hamburg Schauspielhaus and the National Centres of Performing Arts in Beijing and Mumbai.
Amongst other activities, he used to be music director at the Karlskirche in Vienna, lecturer at the Graz Music University, director of the Iran-Austria Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in Tehran and conductor of the Providencia of Philharmonic Orchestra in Santiago de Chile as well as the director of a European Union programme in Turkey. He was in charge of/managed several projects for the Austria Foreign Ministry in more than 20 countries worldwide.