Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín

Version for chorus, soloists, and piano.
Murry Sidlin, creator and conductor / Arlene Shrut, pianist

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. 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 and Creative Director, 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.

The concert has been performed worldwide over 40 times to critical acclaim.

In partnership with Arlene Shrut, The Defiant Requiem Foundation now offers a version of Defiant Requiem with the entire orchestral score performed by piano and solo violin to accommodate academic institutions and communities unable to provide a full symphony orchestra. This performance still features the entire Verdi Requiem with mixed chorus and 4 soloists and is ideal for smaller venues. This version pays homage to the performances in Terezin in 1943-1944 when the prisoner chorus had only a piano to accompany them.

A minimum of 60 chorus singers are needed to mount a performance. Additional information, including technical specifications, is available from the Foundation. The performance runs approximately 2 hours with no intermission.

For more information, please visit our website at or call 202-244-0220.



What an inspiration it was to bring Defiant Requiem to UNC Charlotte! The version for piano with violin obbligato (replicating the original performances in Terezin) provided a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our student performers, as well as an intimate yet powerful event for our community.
— James A. Grymes, Ph.D., Chair, Department of Music, Professor of Musicology, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte
The profound impact of the requiem and its accompanying message must be experienced by audiences throughout the world. The requiem seeks to ensure that we not forget the terrible suffering of millions during the 1930’s and 40’s and serves as a reminder of the beauty and strength of the human spirit even in the darkest of times and most barren of places.
— Mark J. Love, CEO / President Steinway Piano Gallery, Charlotte, NC