Murry Sidlin

Conductor/Concert Innovator/Educator

​Founder and President of The Defiant Requiem Foundation

Creator of Illuminations Concerts


About Sidlin


  • Defiant Requiem:  a concert/drama about the performance of the Verdi Requiem by prisoners of the Terezin Concentration Camp
  • Hours of Freedom: The Story of the Terezin Composer.  A concert/drama which explores composing at Terezin by fifteen prisoner-composers, making the irrational act of music creativity essential and life affirming.
  • Illuminations:  a series of innovative concerts designed to attract new audiences and expand the traditional role of the symphony orchestra.  Each program was written, conducted and designed by Mr. Sidlin


  • National Symphony Orchestra
  • Oregon Symphony
  • Gavleborg Orkester of Sweden, Principal Guest Conductor


  • Aspen Music Festival: Resident Artist/Teacher and Associate Director of the American Academy of Conducting (33 summers)


  • New Haven Symphony
  • Long Beach Symphony
  • Tulsa Philharmonic
  • Connecticut Ballet
  • Cascade Festival of Music, Bend, Oregon


  • Conductor for 18 consecutive New Year's Eve Galas with the National Symphony.


  • Baltimore Symphony Orchestra


  • St. Louis Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Houston Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Utah Symphony, Florida Orchestra, Oklahoma City Symphony, Jerusalem Symphony, Berlin Konzerthausorchester, the George Enescu Philharmonic of Bucharest, Czech National Symphony, Prague Symphony, MVD Orchestra of Budapest, Iceland Symphony, RTVE Madrid, I Solisti Veneti, Honolulu Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Monte Carlo Philharmonic, Vancouver Symphony, Victoria Symphony, Edmonton Symphony, Quebec Philharmique, Boston Pops, San Antonio Symphony and Opera, Lindberg Orchestra of Holland


  • Former Dean, School of Music at Catholic University of America
  • Currently, Professor of Conducting
  • Director of Orchestral and Conducting Studies, University of Minnesota.
  • Named Educator of the Year by the National Association of Independent Schools of Music - 1997


  • The Tender Land Suite, Copland (The Tender Land, suite from the opera, arranged and conducted by Murry Sidlin)Composed by Aaron Copland, performed by Third Angle New Music Ensemble
  • Appalachian Spring, Concert Suite. Composed by Aaron Copland with Third Angle New Music Ensemble. Conducted by Murry Sidlin
  • Maria De Buenos Aires, Composed by Astor Piazzolla. Conducted by Murry Sidlin with the Cascade Festival of Music Chamber Orchestra


Hugh Kaylor, President
tel: 212/977-6779

​​​​​​​Murry Sidlin is a conductor with a unique gift for engaging audiences; he maintains 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 Story of the Terezin Composer”.  He is a distinguished teacher of conducting and performs throughout the world in the traditional concert hall.

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. From 2002 to 2010, he served as Dean of the School of Music at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he currently teaches advanced conducting.  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 has conducted eighteen consecutive New Year's Eve Galas at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC with the National Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Sidlin served as resident artist/teacher and associate director of conducting studies at the Aspen Music Festival for thirty-three summers, where, with conductor David Zinman, he developed the American Academy of Conducting.

In addition to his many distinguished conducting posts, Mr. Sidlin has also conducted the major orchestras of Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Seattle, St. Louis, San Francisco, Utah, Minnesota, the Boston Pops, Quebec, Vancouver, Czech National, Prague Symphony, Berlin Konzerthausorchester, Jerusalem, Lithuanian National, MAV (Budapest), Spanish Radio and Television (Madrid), the George Enescu Philharmonic of Bucharest, 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 (now entitled Illuminations). 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 and attracted hundreds of new subscribers each season. See the "Illuminations Concerts" page for a list of available concerts.

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 thirty 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; at St. Vitas Cathedral in Prague at the invitation of H.E. Cardinal Dominik Duka; Boston; Avery Fischer Hall, NYC; Oklahoma City; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and San Diego. On May 17th, 2015 the premiere of the new concert drama, “Hours of Freedom: the Story of the Terezin Composer” was presented on the grounds of the former Nazi concentration camp, Terezin, Czech Republic.

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. He toured throughout midwest farms presenting The Tender Land, portions of which were featured on CBS Sunday Morning six times as "Opera on the Farm". 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 of Portland, Oregon.

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.

August 2015