San Diego Jewish World (July 17, 2013 - San Diego Jewish World)
Murry Sidlin honored for his "Defiant Requiem"
"...On June 11, the Simon Weisenthal Center honored Maestro Sidlin with a Medal of Valor because of his work in recreating 'a powerful musical performance by Jewish concentration camp inmates.”' Following is Conductor Murry Sidlin’s speech upon receiving the distinguished award:... I am humbled by the honor you bestow upon me today and I accept the award also as a memorial to conductor Rafael Schächter and the many Terezin artists who rest anonymously in unmarked graves. With every performance, every speech, every screening of our film, I assure them they have been heard, and we recall their artistry, spirit, courage, and dignity...."
"The conception of the conductor, Murry Sidlin, was marked by an irresistible spiritual propulsion, tempered with an actor's timing."
The New York Times
"Sidlin is a conductor who speaks as skillfully as he conducts, very much in the passionate tradition of Leonard Bernstein."
San Diego “Union-Tribune
"Murry Sidlin conducted with sweep and passion without slighting detail. The large orchestra played splendidly for him. (Long Beach Opera, King Roger by Szymanowski)
Los Angeles Times
"Good orchestras from Chicago, Paris, and Vienna have come to town, and I have heard others in New York. Sidlin interpreting the Schubert Unfinished in Long Beach is the event I will remember the longest."
Alan Rich on KUSC, Los Angeles
SIDLIN A MASTER WITH COMPLEX COMPOSITION - (Charles Wourinen's 3rd Piano Concerto) - "Sidlin rose to the occasion in an exemplary manner, indeed. His control was masterful. He knew the intricacies of the score cold, offering us an interpretation worthy of the masterpiece at hand."
New Haven “Register”
RUSSIAN MUSIC AS IT SHOULD BE PLAYED - "At last, someone who understands Russian tempos, and what a difference it makes. Last night at the Orpheum, American conductor Murry Sidlin and violinist Mark Peskanov teamed in one of the most satisfying evenings of Russian music heard here in years.....quickened the pulse and intensified the drama"
Vancouver (B.C.) “Province"
LORD BYRON'S MANFRED COMES ALIVE IN TWO WORKS - "Murry Sidlin gave both the Schumann and the Tchaikowsky the sort of romantic aural opulence they need to make them alive. The guest conductor emphasized lush string sonorities, clarion woodwinds, and theatrical brass. But he did not urge the overt drama to turn into melodrama or something vulgar and base."
REVIEWS/ARTICLES - MURRY SIDLIN
For more information on "Defiant Requiem" and "Hours of Freedom", including the latest news, reviews, and articles, please see the Classical Music Communications website:
Murry Sidlin’s ‘Defiant Requiem’ Returns to Avery Fisher Hall (March 6, 2015 - New York Times)
"Can there be more than one way to think and feel about “Defiant Requiem,” the concert-drama based on musical activity in the Nazi concentration camp at Terezin during the Holocaust, conceived by the conductor Murry Sidlin? On the surface, at least, the production seems to represent only good — noble intentions, spiritual uplift and redemption — and it unquestionably holds profound meaning for many who are connected with it or have witnessed it....
'This was one of those stunning events where every single story is compelling and profound,' Ms. Neuwirth said in a recent telephone interview. 'I try to put myself in the prisoners’ unimaginable world, in hell and making music.'... 'Defiant Requiem' has many admirers besides those directly involved in it. 'It’s like a modern oratorio,' said Mark Ludwig, a violist in the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the executive director of the Terezin Music Foundation. 'It is a powerful experience for an audience to remember, and it gives a glimpse into how important the arts were in Terezin....
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“Taking a masterpiece and reinterpreting it is a normal and expected part of the musical process. But transforming that work is another matter altogether. The Defiant Requiem changes the way we look at this single piece of music (Verdi’s Requiem), casting it in such a different light as to give it new meaning for all to see and hear. The multi-media presentation is astonishing, as the history of this unparalleled labor of love unfolds. By the end, the audience is left drained, in some ways satisfied, and in other ways left questioning the true meaning and the power of art.
This is an event not to be missed by anyone who is willing to have his or her life changed forever.”
Maestro Leonard Slatkin, on the performance given
at the University of Houston in May, 2009.
"DEFIANT REQUIEM" and "HOURS OF FREEDOM"
New York Theatre Guide Review of "Hours of Freedom" (May 10, 2016)
...The accumulation of listening to testimony and accounts of the insanity of the Nazi regime and its “Final Solution” made me feel deeply melancholic and full of impossible questions. Hours of Freedom was the antidote. In two hours of the most respectful and uplifting music, video, song, and narration, I could find the way to grieve and celebrate 15 composers, who even in the face of imminent death, chose to create. As one piece of narration said, “The desire for culture is a desire for life.” Over 70 years after some of these men died, I could sit and listen to every note and rest and tempo they birthed, reaching across the years to stir my heart as if they were each startling alive in the space....
...Conductor and narrator, Maestro Murray (sic) Sidlin, requested the audience not applaud as it was about honoring the composers not about praising the musicians and performers. It was deeply moving to sit in silence after the final piece in Memoriam –a seven-and-a-half-minute surge of creativity and life force and to contemplate humanity in all of its depravity and divinity. Although I could not applaud them then, I would like to say that each and every individual on stage were selflessly contributing every ounce of their talent to creating a truly uplifting testimony to the courage of the artist...
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Founder and President of The Defiant Requiem Foundation
Creator of Illuminations Concerts