In conjunction with the current exhibition Vedem Underground, OJMCHE is pleased to present an evening of film and conversation with Defiant Requiem, a feature-length documentary film, which highlights the most dramatic example of intellectual and artistic courage in the Theresienstadt (Terezín) Concentration Camp during World War II: the remarkable story of Rafael Schächter, a brilliant, young Czech conductor who was arrested and sent to Terezín in 1941. He demonstrated moral leadership under the most brutal circumstances, determined to sustain courage and hope for his fellow prisoners by enriching their souls through great music. His most extraordinary act was to recruit 150 prisoners and teach them Verdi’s Requiem by rote in a dank cellar using a single score, over multiple rehearsals, and after grueling days of forced labor. The Requiem was performed on 16 occasions for fellow prisoners. The last, most infamous performance occurred on June 23, 1944 before high-ranking SS officers from Berlin and the International Red Cross to support the charade that the prisoners were treated well and flourishing.
With special guest Murry Sidlin, Conductor/Concert Innovator/Educator Founder and President of The Defiant Requiem Foundation. 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 and for eight years he was the resident conductor of the Oregon Symphony.
“When words are no longer adequate, when our passion is greater than we are able to express in a usual manner, that’s when art begins. Some people go to the canvas and paint; some dance and others make music. But we all go beyond our normal means of communication; and this IS the common human experience for all people on this planet.” Murry Sidlin.
More information about the film can be found here, including a trailer!
More information about Murry Sidlin can be found here.