Last year I went to New York to take my daughter to see Steely Dan perform The Royal Scam and selected favorites at the Beacon Theater. My attorney friend Kirk Kolbo joined us for the show. (I provided an account of the show here.) National Review’s Jay Nordlinger joined us for dinner after the show. All in all, it was one of the most fun evenings I’ve ever had.
During dinner Jay mentioned Ignat Solzhenitsyn, the son of the author (photo above). Jay noted that Ignat makes a living in the United States as an accomplished pianist and conductor. Kirk subsequently took note of Jay’s Impromptus column commenting on Ignat:
Let’s talk about something more pleasant. I think I told you that I was going to Stetson University, in DeLand, Fla., for events involving Ignat Solzhenitsyn. And I did. Ignat, you remember, is a pianist and conductor. Next week, he leads his final concerts with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. He will move on to other musical pursuits.
At Stetson, Ignat did two things: He gave a lecture on the life of his father, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn; and he gave a piano performance. In both things, he was splendid.
His lecture was so good, so absorbing, as to be spellbinding: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn led a great, brave, and heroic life. Also a very important one. You don’t need to dress it up: You can simply relate the facts. And that’s what Ignat did. About an hour after the lecture, he played Schubert’s Sonata in D major — a long, profound, thoroughly Schubertian work. And then we had a little Q&A. It was a tremendously rewarding day.
I might note that Ignat is not merely his father’s son, but a real expert on his father: a close student of all his writings; even a translator of some of them. He has an expertise both filial and scholarly, so to speak….
After reading this Kirk contacted Ignat through his agent, explaining that he had met Jay over dinner in New York and had read Jay’s account of Ignat’s lecture about his father. He wondered if Ignat might be willing to come to Minneapolis to speak about his father. Indeed, it turned out, he would.
Kirk will be hosting Ignat for dinner at the Minneapolis Club on September 14 for the talk “Stranger than Fiction: The Extraordinary Life of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.” Tickets are $90; tables for 8 can be purchased for $650. If you are interested in making reservations to join us with Mr. Solzhenitsyn for dinner and the talk, contact Kirk by email at email@example.com or call (612) 672-8327. The event announcement (along with additional information) is posted here.