We are proud that Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn chose Cavendish as his home in exile. In the hills of Windsor County, he found a community that fiercely protected his privacy, and gave him the solitude he needed to write.
He may have found a familiar landscape here in the snowy hills. I remember during one of the coldest Vermont winters, reading One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. Ivan prayed that the thermometer outside the Siberian prison would drop to 40 below so prisoners would not have to go outside to work. It stopped at only 39 below. From that classic work, I knew it could always be colder. It could always be worse.
Now, I would like to introduce Ignat Solzhenitsyn, the middle son of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who was born in Moscow in 1972.
When he was not yet two, his father, a Nobel Laurete in Literature was arrested, charged with treason for writing the Gulag Archipelago—which exposed the horrible truth about Soviet slave-labor camps—and exiled to the West. After two years in Switzerland, the family moved to Cavendish, where Ignat and his brothers spent the better portion of their childhood.
Ignat began serious piano lessons at age 9, and won a Vermont competition leading to his first appearances as soloist with orchestra. One of those first concerts, playing Beethoven’s Second Concerto with the Windham Community Orchestra, was attended by Aleksandr, as were many future concerts by Ignat.
Ignat then moved to London at 14 years old to pursue his studies; then to New York City; and eventually to Philadelphia, where he graduated with a double-major in piano and conducting from the renowned Curtis Institute of Music.
It was in Philadelphia that Ignat met his wife, Carolyn, and there that their three children—Dmitri, Anna, and Andrei‚ were born. Eventually Ignat and family moved back to NYC, and now split their time between there and the old family home in Cavendish, in the adopted state they love so dearly.
I would also like to introduce Margo Caulfield, president of the Cavendish Historical Society, who has spearheaded the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Alexsandr Solzhenitzen. The Vermont Historical Society will feature the exhibit in May, and celebrations will take place in Russia as well.
And, along with the Cavendish contingent on this special day, is Asst. Town Manager Bruce McEnaney and Wendy Regier.
I would like to Welcome them to the People’s House!
Read story in Vt Digger: https://vtdigger.org/2018/09/02/solzhenitsyns-adopted-state-marks-100th/