“Defiant Requiem,” helping keep the Holocaust in public memory for 20 years

Posted on: April 19, 2022

A 2013 performance of Murry Sidlin’s multimedia work Defiant Requiem at St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague. Photo: Josef Rabara

“Chief among the challenges in keeping the Holocaust in the public consciousness is not just how to do it, but what form those remembrances should take,” writes Michael Andor Brodeur in Friday’s (4/15) Washington Post. “One potential solution can be seen in ‘Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín,’ which comes to the Music Center at Strathmore on April 20 for its 20th-anniversary performance. The elaborate stage show combines an orchestra and chorus with a large multimedia component. It aims, through enhanced re-creation, to relate the tale of a prisoners’ chorus at Theresienstadt concentration camp—a.k.a. Terezín—which between September 1943 and June 1944 learned Verdi’s Requiem by rote and performed it 16 times…. For the Strathmore performance, the Orchestra of Terezín Remembrance will be joined by members of regional [vocal] ensembles…. ‘Defiant Requiem’ was the brainchild of Murry Sidlin, 81, a conductor and educator who started his career at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and as resident conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra. For eight years he was resident conductor of the Oregon Symphony…. Sidlin … asserts that however well-read he’s become on Terezín, he’s not a scholar. Most important, he says, is that the memory of Terezín lives on.”