NIU School of Music to present Defiant Requiem


DEKALB – The Northern Illinois University School of Music will present Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín in concert, Sunday, April 28 at 3 p.m. in Boutell Memorial Concert Hall, in the Music Building on the main campus.

The performance at NIU will feature 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).

The signature concert of The Defiant Requiem Foundation, Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín, tells the story of the courageous Jewish prisoners in the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp (Terezín) during World War II who performed Verdi’s Requiem while experiencing the depths of human degradation. With only a single smuggled score, they performed the celebrated oratorio sixteen times, including one performance before senior SS officials from Berlin and an International Red Cross delegation. Conductor Rafael Schächter told the choir, “We will sing to the Nazis what we cannot say to them.”

Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín is a concert-drama that was conceived and created by Foundation President, Maestro Murry Sidlin. It combines the magnificent music of Verdi with video testimony from survivors of the original Terezín chorus and footage from the 1944 Nazi propaganda film about Theresienstadt. The performance also includes actors who speak the words of imprisoned conductor Rafael Schächter and others.

Defiant Requiem is not just a performance of the Verdi Requiem, but a tribute to the inspired leadership of Rafael Schächter who was forced to reconstitute the choir three times as members were transported to Auschwitz. The performances came to symbolize resistance and defiance and demonstrated the prisoners’ courage to confront the worst of mankind with the best of mankind. Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín is powerful, dramatic and inspirational.

The NIU Philharmonic is directed by Danko Drusko. Eric A. Johnson, the acting director of the NIU School of Music directs the NIU Concert Choir in his role as director of choral activities and he is also the founding artistic director of Cor Cantiamo. Steven Szalaj directs both the McHenry County College Chorus and Voices in Harmony.

The event will also include performances by the NIU School of Theatre and Dance's Stanton Davis and Ken Miller.

Tickets are available online at https://calendar.niu.edu.