How Music Can Save Your Life

How Music Can Save Your Life

Brendan Slocumb, musician, educator, and author of the upcoming novel The Violin Conspiracy is here to tell you how music can save your life— it certainly saved his.

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The One and Only Victor Wooten

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Call Him Dr. Leslie B. Dunner

How Music Can Save Your Life | S:1 E:7
Brendan and Leslie discuss his time with the dance theater of Harlem, his experiences as a Black American traveling the world as a representative ...
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Daniel Roumain: Racism as a Virus

How Music Can Save Your Life | S:1 E:6
Brendan is joined by Daniel Roumain: composer, performer, educator, and social entrepreneur....
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The Legendary Billy Childs

How Music Can Save Your Life | S:1 E:5
Our guest today needs no introduction: he’s multi-Grammy-award-winner Billy Childs....
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Bryan Young: Music as a Universal Language

How Music Can Save Your Life | S:1 E:4
Brendan is joined by Bryan Young, touring bassoonist and co-founder of the Poulenc Trio, for a conversation about his experiences as a Black class...
Listen to Bryan Young: Music as a Universal Language

Good Morning America Book Club Pick

More about The Violin Conspiracy

Most classical musicians are white, wealthy, privileged. Not Ray: he’s Black and comes from a single-family household, with a self-centered mother who actively blocks Ray’s aspirations. Only his Grandma Nora seems to care about his love for music. She gives him her old family treasure – a beat-up fiddle that hasn’t been played in eighty years. Ray confronts rampant discrimination from an establishment that believes that Black people cannot emotionally understand the music of dead white Europeans: Blacks should stick to hip hop, Gershwin, and jazz. A college music scholarship, and a professor’s mentorship, nurture Ray’s extraordinary talent and unstoppable ambition.

Then Ray discovers that Grandma Nora’s ancient violin is actually a rare and unique instrument that can take his playing to an entirely new level. The resulting media frenzy catapulted him into a solo violinist’s career. His star rises, but with success comes heartbreak: two lawsuits threaten to rip the violin away from him. In the first, his family claims that the instrument is rightfully theirs; in the second, the slaveholder family of his ancestors declare that Ray’s great-grandfather stole the violin from them. The two claims intertwine. Desperate to keep the violin, Ray makes a bargain that will have far-reaching and devastating consequences.

And then someone - his family? The slaveholder family? The mafia? - steals the violin. Ray has a month to raise five million dollars to pay the ransom before the Tchaikovsky Competition - classical music’s version of the Olympics - begins, and before the violin disappears forever.

In Moscow, under the glaring lights of musical stardom, Ray will not only compete but will also discover what happened to the violin that means everything to him.

For more information, visit the official website.

The Team

Brendan Nicholaus Slocumb

Brendan Slocumb is a musician, educator, and the author of the upcoming novel "The Violin Conspiracy."

Hannah Rae Leach

Senior Producer
Hannah is a podcast producer, host, writer, and musician with an appreciation for all things pink.