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Ignat Solzhenitsyn Talks About Music, Father's Legacy

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Ignat Solzhenitsyn Talks About Music, Father's Legacy
RALEIGH, N.C. — The writings of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn helped to bring an end to communism. His son, Ignat, is in Raleigh conducting the North Carolina Symphony.

A gifted conductor at 31, Ignat Solzhenitsyn has come a long way since he first picked up the baton.

"Conducting is difficult. [It was] very awkward, very awkward," he said.

However, after 15 years of experience, that awkwardness has totally transformed him.

"You need to lose yourself completely in it, and at the same time, you can't afford not to be aware of what's happening," the conductor said.

Solzhenitsyn is working in a special residency program with the North Carolina Symphony performing in and outside the Triangle. He said his goal is to expose as many people as possible to the beauty of classical music.

"We hope as many people as possible walk through the door and become fascinated and fall in love," Solzhenitsyn said.

Ignat does not work in his father's shadow, but he is very aware of the impact his father's writing had on the Soviet Union and the rest of the world. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's book, "The Gulag Archipelago" helped change the course of humankind. Ignat said his father's dedication to life and freedom affect him deeply.

"To see the seriousness of his approach, the honesty of his approach and the humility of his approach to the world, it's been very instructive and priceless and unrepeatable in any other context," Ignat said.

Ignat Solzhenitsyn will conduct the North Carolina Symphony Saturday night at the Vance-Granville Community College in Henderson. He will be at Meymandi Hall on Sunday and a chamber music concert Monday night at Peace College.