Quick Study: Solomon Volkov is a Russian-American historian whose work focuses on Russian cultural history and its colorful figures.
The Volkov File: Many of Solomon Volkov’s writings draw on his professional training as a violinist and musicologist, and he has written books—some structured to document conversations—about such cultural figures as Dmitri Shostakovich, George Balanchine, and Joseph Brodsky. Volkov’s most recent book to appear in English translation is Romanov Riches: Russian Writers and Artists Under the Tsars, which begins with the first Romanovs and ends with Vladimir Lenin. Volkov emigrated to the United States in 1976 and serves as a cultural commentator on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
Psssst………: The preface of Volkov’s St. Petersburg: A Cultural History begins with a twenty-one-year-old Volkov (a violinist) and three fellow string quartet members going to perform a private concert at the dacha of Anna Akhmatova, “It was probably the most unusual concert performance of my life—for an audience of one, a seventy-five-year-old grande dame in a black kimono worn over a festive pink dress, who sat majestically in a deep armchair, her eyes half shut.”