[CUA Office of Public Affairs]           

Terezin and the Art of Defiance

April 12-18, 2004



Murry Sidlin, Conductor

Dean of the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music


Murry Sidlin recently made his ninth appearance as conductor of the annual New Year’s Eve gala at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He became the first conductor to raise his baton at the center’s refurbished Opera House in November 2003 when he conducted excerpts from Leonard Bernstein’s “Mass” featuring Catholic University’s Symphony Orchestra and choral ensembles. Sidlin serves as dean of the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music at The Catholic University of America and is entering his ninth season as artistic director of the Cascade Festival of Music.


The summer of 2003 marked Sidlin’s 25th year of service at the Aspen Music Festival, where he is resident artist/teacher and associate director of conducting. He and David Zinman, music director of the Aspen Music Festival, have spent three summers developing and leading Aspen’s American Academy of Conducting, a new school within the festival for which they serve as the two resident teachers.


Sidlin has held a number of distinguished music directorships and appears as a guest conductor around the world. Recently he has appeared with the St. Louis Symphony and the major orchestras of San Francisco, Houston, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Honolulu, Minnesota, Utah, Colorado, Quebec, Jerusalem, Madrid and Monte Carlo. In addition, he has appeared as a guest conductor with the Boston Pops, the San Antonio Symphony, the Houston Symphony, I Solisti Veneti of Italy and the Lindberg Orchestra of Holland.


He earned rave reviews in summer 2000 conducting the first performance in Eastern Europe of Bernstein’s Mass at the famed Eastern European festival at Vilnius, Lithuania, and returned to the festival in summer 2003. Future engagements include appearances with the Victoria Symphony in Canada and the San Diego Symphony, where he will conduct the four concerts of the “Light Bulb” series.


A series of chamber opera collaborations with American director Arvin Brown at the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, Conn., also featured major revivals of Britten’s “Albert Herring” and Marc Blitzstein’s “Regina.” Sidlin conducted the staged American premiere of the 1926 masterpiece “King Roger” by Polish composer Karol Szymanowski, and collaborated with photochoreographer James Westwater for a celebrated eight-year national concert tour sponsored by ChevronTexaco Corporation that featured the music of Aaron Copland.


Appointed by Presidents Ford and Carter to serve on the Presidential Scholars Commission, Sidlin was the host and conductor for the PBS children’s series Music Is! He is now host of Fanfare!, a national award-winning cable television show produced in the Portland, Ore., market by Multnomah Community


Television, which introduces Oregon Symphony guest artists to a regional audience. In 1997 the National Association of Independent Schools of Music named Sidlin Educator of the Year. As a practicing professional, conducting teacher and teaching conductor, he is a recognized spokesperson on “demystifying” the symphony orchestra and has been featured on NBC’s Today, ABC’s Good Morning America and CBS’s Sunday Morning.


He completed his 8th and final season as resident conductor of the Oregon Symphony at the close of the 2001-2002 season. During his tenure he founded and directed the Oregon Symphony Conducting Apprenticeship Program at Pacific University where he held the James DePriest Chair in Music. For eight years he conducted the Classical Hits series at the San Diego Symphony and served for several seasons as principal conductor of San Diego’s summer season.


In 1997 Sidlin arranged and conducted the premiere of a suite from Aaron Copland’s opera “The Tender Land” for chamber ensemble, designed as a companion work to Copland’s original chamber version of “Appalachian Spring.” Sidlin has recorded two compact discs on KOCH International featuring the Third Angle New Music Ensemble. The first disc contains both Copland works (1998) and the second contains Sidlin’s own chamber arrangement of the complete opera “The Tender Land,” also featuring Third Angle (1999).  


The latter recording launched the national yearlong celebration of Copland’s 100th birthday and was selected by Israel National Radio for broadcast on Nov. 14, 2000, Copland’s 100th birthday. Sidlin also marked the birthday in Portland with a 10-day Copland Festival, including classical subscription and chamber concerts with the Oregon Symphony, illuminating Copland’s life and work. Sidlin and Third Angle have given several performances of Piazzolla’s “Maria de Buenos Aires” and he also has conducted the work in Victoria and San Diego. He will conduct it again in Aspen during summer 2005.


Sidlin was also the artistic director of “Nerve Endings” with the Oregon Symphony, a series featuring innovative concerts designed to attract new audiences and expand the traditional role of the symphony orchestra. Each program was written, conducted and designed by Sidlin and launched via the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Magic of Music initiative. Nerve Endings attracted hundreds of new subscribers each season. In spring 2002, he presented “Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezin,” a concert/drama that illuminates how and why the Verdi Requiem was presented 16 times by the prisoners of the Terezin concentration camp in 1943 and 1944. On Aug. 27, 2003, Oregon Public Television's production of this concert was broadcast by 220 PBS stations. These programs are now titled “Illuminations.”


Sidlin began his career as assistant conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra under Sergiu Comissiona and was appointed by Antal Dorati as resident conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra for four seasons. He served as music director of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra for 12 seasons, and for eight of those seasons was also music director of the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra in California. He also has served as music director of the Tulsa Philharmonic, the Connecticut Ballet and was principal guest conductor of the Gavleborg Orkester of Sweden. He has studied with legendary pedagogues Leon Barzin and Sergiu Celibidache.





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Revised: 3/17/20044

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The Catholic University of America,
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