Murry Sidlin is credited with having one of the most diverse musical careers in America today. After eight years as the Oregon Symphony’s resident conductor — during which he conducted hundreds of classical, pops, youth, special event, tour and community concerts — he became dean of the music school at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., in August 2002.
Sidlin’s conducting of Leonard Bernstein’s MASS in April at Catholic University will mark the eighth time that he’s conducted the theater piece for singers, dancers and musicians. Sidlin, who conducted his ninth consecutive New Year's Eve Gala in January with the National Symphony at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., is scheduled to conduct Bernstein's MASS at performances this summer in Lithuania, Slovenia and Germany.
In keeping with his philosophy of students “evolving as artists” to meet the demands of the ever “evolving” musical profession in America, he has pledged to develop a training school at CUA for the young 21st century professional that will emphasize communicating the musical arts in new ways, with innovative thought and methods for new audiences.
Sidlin’s creation, “Defiant Requiem-Verdi at Terezin,” has received international recognition and will be broadcast on the PBS network on Aug. 27. He’ll conduct three concerts from his nationally recognized “Illuminations” series with the Oregon Symphony this coming season and four other concerts with the San Diego Symphony. He will also conduct his annual American Music Weekend Concert at the Aspen Music Festival over the July 4 weekend.
The conductor created the “Illuminations” series (originally called “Nerve Endings”) while at the Oregon Symphony. For eight years, the innovative concerts, designed to attract new audiences and to expand the traditional role of the symphony orchestra, were the most written about, controversial and consistently well-attended events in the symphony’s history.
Sidlin last year completed his 24th summer at the Aspen Music Festival where, as artist/teacher, he serves with music director David Zinman as the associate director and program coordinator of the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen, a school within a school.
A sought after lecturer as an arts philosopher, he has given major addresses three times at American Symphony Orchestra League national conferences. He also has lectured on music education and gifted children at 12 state education conferences and has spoken at the White House Forum on Arts Education. Appointed by presidents Ford and Carter to serve on the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, he was voted national educator of the year in 1997 by the National Association of Independent Schools of Music. He was the host/conductor/principal writer of “Music Is ...”, a 10-part television series about music for children that was shown for five years on the PBS network.
His guest conducting has taken him to the following orchestras: Boston Pops, Florida Philharmonic, St Louis, Minnesota, Seattle, Houston, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Milwaukee, San Antonio, Texas (symphony and opera), Utah, Colorado, Quebec, Madrid, I Solisti Veneti, Vancouver, Edmonton, Monte Carlo, Jerusalem, Gavleborg (Sweden), Maastricht (Netherlands) and many others.
He has conducted hundreds of opera performances, including multiple performances of several chamber operas at the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, Conn. Among these is Sidlin's own chamber transcription of Aaron Copland's “The Tender Land,” which he recorded on Koch CDs with the Third Angle New Music Ensemble, and a suite that he arranged from the opera on a separate CD with Copland's famed “Appalachian Spring,” also with Third Angle.
He has conducted 92 performances of “The Tender Land.”
Sidlin began his career as an assistant conductor of the Baltimore Symphony under Sergiu Comissiona, and then became resident conductor of the National Symphony under Antal Dorati. He next moved to music directorships with the New Haven Symphony for 12 years, and the Tulsa Philharmonic and Long Beach (Calif.) orchestras. His principal teachers were famed pedagogues Leon Barzin, in New York, and Sergiu Celibidache at the Academia Chigiana, in Siena, Italy.
As a conductor and an educator he has been featured on NBC's Today, CBS's Sunday Morning, and ABC's Good Morning America.