Indrė Viskontas on Music, Brain and Lithuania

Indrė Viskontas is an opera singer, neuroscientist, podcaster and university professor. With her larger-than-life personality she’s a unique ambassador of Lithuania, the country where her parents and grandparents grew up.

But how much influence should she have on today’s Lithuanian society? And how could today’s Lithuania get more connected to people like her? We sat down at her home studio in San Francisco to discuss it all: music, identity, podcasting – and Indrė’s debut on Oprah Winfrey’s show.

The music part starts from the beginning. The identity part starts at 42:40.

Indrė herself is the host of two podcasts: “Inquiring Minds” explores science, politics and society; “Cadence” deconstructs music and our brain on it. ©Mindaugas Drigotas

Indrė is a professor at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where she teaches how to apply neuroscience to musical training. ©Mindaugas Drigotas

Podcast host Karolis Vyšniauskas at Indrė Viskontas's home studio in San Francisco. ©Mindaugas Drigotas

Notes for the interview. ©Mindaugas Drigotas

Indrė switched to podcasting from TV, where she co-hosted the documentary “Miracle Detectives” on “The Oprah Winfrey Network”. The show uncovered mysterious incidents in the U.S. through scientifical view. ©Mindaugas Drigotas

Indrė is also a creative director of “Pasadena Opera”, where she works with living composers and chooses plays that defy traditional character roles in opera. ©Mindaugas Drigotas

Further reading:

How music makes me a better neuroscientist, Indrė Viskontas’s talk at TEDxSanFrancisco

The transformative power of classical music, Benjamin Zander’s TED Talk

Brain Myths Exploded: Lessons from Neuroscience, course by Indrė Viskontas, published by The Great Courses

NARA is a non-profit media organisation. Support our journalism financially:


The studio voice over recorded by Kata Bitowt at Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania.

This episode is supported by Lithuanian council for culture.

Subscribe to NARA podcast on Spotify and other podcast platforms.

NARA podcasts can be shared using player‘s embed code or by sharing a link to the original publication on nara.lt website. Thoughts expressed on podcasts may be cited by including a link to the source and in accordance with the Copyright and Related Rights Act.