Conductor Murry Sidlin has just finished serving in his 8th year as Dean of the School of Music at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and is rejoining the faculty as a member of the conducting division.
Before coming to Catholic University, for eight years, he served as resident conductor of the Oregon Symphony under music director James DePreist, where he originated the Illuminations concert dramas, engaging concert presentations that set records for audience attendance, and which he now performs across the country.
The summer of 2009 marked his thirty first season at the Aspen Music Festival and School, where, with Maestro David Zinman, he co-founded the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen, in which he serves as associate director, one of the principal teachers, and program coordinator. Sidlin also performs regularly each summer at Aspen, bringing Illuminations to the famed Aspen music tent, where he has received enthusiastic reviews.
Additional to his summers, he was artistic director/conductor for 12 seasons at the Cascade Festival of Music in Bend, Oregon, one of the largest and most popular arts festivals in the Pacific Northwest.
He has conducted 14 consecutive New Year's Eve Galas with members of the National Symphony at Washington's Kennedy Center. The National Symphony has long had a special place in Sidlin’s career as he spent four years on the conducting staff as resident conductor to Antal Dorati. Sidlin also served for 2 ½ years as assistant conductor to Sergiu Comissiona at the Baltimore Symphony. His career includes tenure as music director of the New Haven Symphony for 12 years, the Long Beach Symphony and the Tulsa Philharmonic.
Last year, Sidlin debuted with the Juilliard Orchestra in New York, and over the past several seasons he has conducted more than 150 concerts with the San Diego Symphony, as well as several re-engagements with the Lindberg Orchestra in Holland. Also last season, he made his debut with the George Enescu Orchestra in Bucharest, and presented his internationally recognized concert drama DEFIANT REQUIEM with the Buffalo Philharmonic.
Sidlin's international guest conducting has taken him to the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon, the Jerusalem Symphony, the RTVE Orchestra in Madrid, I Solisti Veneti in Italy, the Monte Carlo Philharmonic, Sweden’s Gavleborg Orkester, the Canadian orchestras of Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton, Quebec, and Kitchner-Waterloo, as well as the Czech National Symphony Orchestra.
In the United States, he has conducted the orchestras of Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Minnesota, Utah, San Francisco, Houston, Seattle, Baltimore, Boston Pops, Atlanta, San Antonio (Symphony and Opera), the Florida Orchestra, Colorado Symphony, New Mexico Symphony, and many others.
Sidlin gave the eastern European premiere of Leonard Bernstein's MASS at the Vilnius Festival, and took this work on tour with the Lithuanian National Orchestra and Chorus to Slovenia and Germany. In America, he has conducted more than fifteen performances of Bernstein's MASS.
He has conducted hundreds of opera performances, among them about 120 performances of his own chamber ensemble transcription of Aaron Copland's only opera, THE TENDER LAND, which Copland himself authorized and approved, and which was recorded on Koch International classics. Recently, Sidlin recorded MARIA DE BUENOS AIRES, the tango opera by Astor Piazzolla. He also presented the American staged premiere of Karol Szymanowski's 1926 masterpiece Król Roger at the Long Beach Opera in California.
In May of 2006, Sidlin conducted his most well-known concert/drama, DEFIANT REQUIEM, on the grounds of Terezin, the former Nazi concentration camp in the Czech Republic, with chorus and orchestra of the Catholic University of America. He has performed this concert/drama additionally at Terezin in May and June, 2009, and at the University of Houston last May as well. Other performances of DEFIANT REQUIEM were presented at the Oregon Symphony, the Rochester Philharmonic and at Catholic University. He is currently finishing a documentary film entitled DEFIANT REQUIEM AT TEREZIN, concerning the Verdi Requiem that was learned and performed by a prisoners chorus which gave 16 performances between October, 1943, and June, 1944.
In addition to DEFIANT REQUIEM, Sidlin’s ILLUMINATIONS include: SIGMUND FREUD AND THE DREAMS OF GUSTAV MAHLER, SILENT BUGLES/THE WAR REQUIEM, AARON COPLAND'S AMERICA, SHADOWS AND VOICES-THE FINAL DAYS OF TCHAIKOWSKY, THE ANATOMY OF THE NINTH, RUSSIAN DAVID-SOVIET GOLIATH: Shostakvich vs. Stalin, FROM LENNY TO MAESTRO, and 16 others. During the summer of ’07 at the Aspen Music Festival he premiered a new creation entitled, "WHO KILLED MOZART?"
Sidlin’s numerous television credits include MUSIC IS …, a ten-part series about music for young people that which was broadcast nationally in America for five years over the PBS Network and produced at WETA in Washington. As conductor and teaching conductor, he has been featured on major television morning shows in the United States: twice on NBC’s TODAY, several times on CBS Sunday Morning, and ABC’s GOOD MORNING AMERICA. DEFIANT REQUIEM was a PBS special in 2004 and ’05, carried several times by 250 network stations.
Sidlin’s teachers were Sergiu Celibidache, and Leon Barzin. In addition to his professional conducting, Sidlin has served on the faculties of the University of Minnesota, and Pacific University; he has lectured extensively throughout the United States, and has taught more than 200 conducting master classes.
In 1997, Sidlin was named "educator of the year" by the National Association of Independent Schools of Music in America.
He is the founder and director of the new Rafael Schachter Institute of Arts and Humanities at Terezin, presently being developed on the grounds of Terezin in the Czech Republic to commemorate through continuation the more than 530 lecturers and 2400 lectures, plus countless music performances that were presented there during the years 1942 through 1945.