On Sunday, April 28, the NIU School of Music will mount a production of The Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín, featuring the NIU Concert Choir, the NIU Philharmonic, Cor Cantiamo, Voices in Harmony, and the McHenry County College Chamber Choir. The performance will be conducted by Maestro Murry Sidlin and soloists include Sara Gartshore (soprano), Susan Platts, (mezzo-soprano), Andrzej Stec (tenor) and Samuel Handley (bass).

Tickets are available online for the performance, Sunday, April 28 at 3 p.m. at $10 per adult and $5 per student.

Created and conducted by Maestro Murry Sidlin, Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín features a full performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem Mass. The performance includes actors, historic film footage from Terezín and interviews with original chorus members relating the full, impassioned story of how and why these Jewish prisoners, who faced death every day, chose to learn and perform the Verdi Requiem during their darkest hours.

The story of Terezín unfolds between each section of the Verdi score. The concert/drama explains through music, personal survivor testimony and narration why the performances in 1943 and 1944 provided a beacon of hope and survival for the prisoner choir and its audience.

Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín has been performed at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC; Lincoln Center in New York City; in Jerusalem as part of the Israel Festival in May 2012; before an audience of 5,000 in Budapest in 2010; at St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague; and in Terezín itself. The concert was performed in Berlin on March 4, 2014.

The Defiant Requiem Foundation, in partnership with Partisan Pictures, produced Defiant Requiem, a moving and powerful feature-length documentary film that has been broadcast on PBS and on BBC4 in the U.K. The film tells the inspirational story of how and why conductor Rafael Schächter recruited a chorus of 150 fellow prisoners and taught them the powerful and enormously demanding Verdi Requiem by rote. Narrated by actor Bebe Neuwirth, the film has received numerous awards nationwide and received two Emmy Nominations in 2014.


Maestro Murry Sidlin

Murry Sidlin

Maestro Murry Sidlin

Murry Sidlin is the creator/conductor of the Defiant Requiem, the Live Performance which was the inspiration and genesis for this film. He has conducted 17 performances of Defiant Requiem Live in such cities as Jerusalem, Budapest, Washington D.C., three times at Terezin, Houston and Atlanta.

Over the next musical season he will perform this concert/drama in Baltimore, New York’s Lincoln Center and in Prague. He is an internationally recognized conductor, teacher, lecturer and is the Founder and President of the Defiant Requiem Foundation.

He has been decorated by the Archbishop of Prague for his contribution to the illumination of the Terezin legacy and is being awarded this June the prestigious Medal of Valor by the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.


Related articles