'Defiant Requiem' At IUP Commemorates Historic Verdi Performances In Nazi Concentration Camp

An estimated 2,400 lectures and 1,000 concerts were given at Terezín Concentration Camp during World War II, including Requiem, a Catholic funeral march composed by Giuseppe Verdi in 1874.

Conductor Murry Sidlin is the founder and president of the Defiant Requiem Foundation.
Credit Joseph LeBlanc / Classical Music Communications

The classic piece is memorialized in the live performance, “Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín,” which blends song and orchestral elements with film clips, narration and testimony from some of the prisoners who took part in the original performance.

Its creator and conductor, Murry Sidlin, brings the piece to Indiana University of Pennsylvania on Saturday. He says Requiem offered some respite from the terror; it was an act of defiance that helped people put aside the stress and terror they experienced in the camp every day.

“It’s responding to the worst of mankind with the best of mankind,” Sidlin tells 90.5 WESA’s The Confluence. “Under the era of desperation of the worst possible treatment by man to man, what did these prisoners do? They reached out to the arts and humanities as inspiration and assurance.”

Sidlin conducts “Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Fisher Auditorium at IUP.

Later in the program:

Doctors sometimes prescribe hormones to help ease the uncomfortable side effects of menopause, but more women are turning to “natural remedies” known as bioidentical hormone treatments. One report found that the bioidentical sector was worth nearly $300 million in 2016, and the industry continues to grow. But 90.5 WESA’s Sarah Boden reports that some doctors warn they may not be worth the money.

And J.R. Block, the publisher of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette promoted editorial page director Keith Burris to executive editor. He retains his current position at both the P-G and its sister paper, The Toledo Blade. This comes on the heels of a series of developments at the paper: an ongoing contract dispute, the firing of editorial cartoonist Rob Rogers, a shift to the right in the paper’s editorial page, a late night blow up in the newsroom and the elimination of two days of printing.

Joining The Confluence to discuss what all this could mean for the future of the Post-Gazette are:

  • Andrew Conte, director of the Center for Media Innovation at Point Park University;
  • Rob Rogers, syndicated editorial cartoonist and former cartoonist for the Post-Gazette;
  • Mackenzie Carpenter, retired Post-Gazette journalist and active union voice; and
  • Nolan Rosencrans, president of the Toledo Newspaper Guild at The Toledo Blade.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators join veteran journalist Kevin Gavin, taking an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.