Murry Sidlin is a conductor with a unique gift for engaging audiences who continues a diverse and distinctive musical career. He is the founder and president of The Defiant Requiem Foundation, an organization that sponsors live concert performances of Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín, as well as other projects, including the documentary film, Defiant Requiem, and The Rafael Schächter Institute for Arts and Humanities at Terezín. He lectures extensively on the arts and humanities as practiced by the prisoners of the Terezin Concentration Camp, and has developed a second concert drama which illuminates the compositions of fifteen composers who were imprisoned at Terezin. The concert drama is entitled “Hours of Freedom: the Terezin Composer”.
Mr. Sidlin began his career as assistant conductor of the Baltimore Symphony under Sergiu Comissiona and then was appointed resident conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra by Antal Doráti. He has served as music director of the New Haven and Long Beach (California) Symphonies, the Tulsa Philharmonic, and the Connecticut Ballet. For eight years he was resident conductor of the Oregon Symphony and, from 2002 to 2010, he served as Dean of the School of Music at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Murry Sidlin was principal guest conductor of the Gävleborgs Symfoniorkester in Sweden, and was artistic director of the Cascade Festival of Music in Bend, Oregon for twelve summers. He has conducted more than 100 concerts with the San Diego Symphony, and, on December 31, 2011, conducted his 18th consecutive New Year’s Eve Gala at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC with the National Symphony Orchestra. The summer of 2011 marked Mr. Sidlin’s 33rd year as resident artist/teacher and associate director of conducting studies at the Aspen Music Festival where, with conductor David Zinman, he developed the American Academy of Conducting.
In addition to his many distinguished conducting posts and guest engagements, Mr. Sidlin has also appeared as conductor around the world. In the U.S. he has conducted the Atlanta, New Mexico, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Seattle, and St. Louis Symphony Orchestras; the Colorado, Honolulu, Houston, San Antonio, San Francisco, and Utah Symphonies; the Florida and Minnesota Orchestras and the Boston Pops. In Canada he has led the major orchestras in Edmonton, Quebec, Vancouver, and Victoria. In Europe Murry Sidlin has worked with the Czech National, Iceland, Lithuanian National, MAV (Budapest), and Spanish Radio and Television (Madrid) Symphony Orchestras; the George Enescu Philharmonic, I Solisti Veneti, the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Orquestra Gulbenkian (Lisbon), among many others.
While at the Oregon Symphony, Murry Sidlin created the nationally recognized Nerve Endings series. This series featured innovative concerts designed to attract and engage new audiences and expand the traditional role of the symphony orchestra. Each program was designed, written, and conducted by Mr. Sidlin. Nerve Endings attracted hundreds of new subscribers each season. Among the most popular of the more than 25 creative programs were: Sigmund Freud and the Dreams of Gustav Mahler; From Lenny to Maestro; The Anatomy of the 9th; Aaron Copland’s America; Russian David, Soviet Goliath (Shostakovich vs. Stalin); Shadows and Voices: The Last Days of Tchaikovsky; and Do the Tango and Get Arrested.
In April of 2002 Murry Sidlin presented the first performances of the concert-drama, Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín in Portland, Oregon. Since the premiere, he has led a total of twenty-seven performances, including three performances in the Czech town of Terezin, the site of the Theresienstadt concentration camp. The June 2009 performance served as the conclusion to an International Holocaust Conference attended by nearly 800 delegates from 47 nations. On May 9, 2010, Defiant Requiem was presented to an audience of 5,000 people in Budapest, Hungary and televised live on Danube Television throughout Eastern Europe. Recent performances were presented in Jerusalem, Berlin, New York and at St. Vitas Cathedral in Prague at the invitation of H.E. Cardinal Dominik Duka. He conducted the new concert drama, “Hours of Freedom: the Terezin Composer” on the grounds of the former Nazi concentration camp, Terezin.
In 1987, Murry Sidlin collaborated with the celebrated American composer Aaron Copland to arrange and orchestrate a new chamber ensemble version of Copland’s full-length opera The Tender Land. Later, he created a suite from the opera to serve as a companion work to Copland’s chamber version of Appalachian Spring. Mr. Sidlin has performed the chamber ensemble version of The Tender Land over 200 times and has recorded both the full-length opera and the suite for KOCH International. For the same label, he recorded Piazzolla’s tango opera Maria de Buenos Aires, with the Third Angle New Music Ensemble.
Murry Sidlin studied with legendary pedagogues Leon Barzin and Sergiu Celibidache. He was appointed by Presidents Ford and Carter to serve on the White House Commission of Presidential Scholars. He won national acclaim for the television series Music Is…, a ten-part series about music for children that was seen over the PBS network for five years. In 1997 the National Association of Independent Schools of Music recognized Mr. Sidlin as Educator of the Year. He has been featured on NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, and several times on CBS Sunday Morning. Most recently he was asked to appear on CNN International to speak about Defiant Requiem. In May of 2011 Mr. Sidlin received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from his alma mater, the Peabody Conservatory of Music of The Johns Hopkins University. The Award honors alumni who have typified The Johns Hopkins tradition of excellence and brought credit to the University by their personal accomplishments, professional achievement, and humanitarian service. In September of 2011, the Archbishop of Prague presented Mr. Sidlin with the medal of St. Agnes of Bohemia for his dedication to illuminating the legacy of Terezín. In January 2013, Mr. Sidlin was nominated to the International Board of Governors of the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. In June of 2013 Murry Sidlin received the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Medal of Valor for his continued efforts to illuminate the Terezin legacy.