Murry Sidlin (BM ’62, Music Education; MM ’68, Instrumental Conducting), who is credited with having one of the most diverse musical careers in America today, has been selected to receive the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award. From 2002 to 2010, he served as the dean of the Music School at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. Sidlin also serves, with music director David Zinman, as the associate director and program coordinator of the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen, a school within the Aspen Music Festival.
A sought-after lecturer as an arts philosopher, he has given major addresses at American Symphony Orchestra League national conferences. Appointed by Presidents Ford and Carter to serve on the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, he was voted National Educator of the Year in 1997 by the National Association of Independent Schools of Music. He was also the host, conductor, and principal writer of Music Is …, a 10-part television series about music for children that was shown for five years on the PBS network.
Sidlin began his career as an assistant conductor of the Baltimore Symphony under Sergiu Comissiona, and then became resident conductor of the National Symphony under Antal Dorati. He was the music director for the New Haven Symphony for 12 years, as well as the Long Beach Symphony in California. He has also served as the Oregon Symphony’s resident conductor and music director of the Tulsa Philharmonic and the Connecticut Ballet. He was the first conductor to raise a baton in the refurbished Kennedy Center Opera House on November 19, 2003, when he conducted excerpts from Leonard Bernstein’s Mass. His principal teachers were famed pedagogues Leon Barzin, in New York, and Sergiu Celibidache, at the Academia Chigiana in Siena, Italy.
Established in 1978, the Distinguished Alumni Award is intended to honor alumni who have typified the Johns Hopkins tradition of excellence and brought credit to the university by their personal accomplishment, professional achievement, or humanitarian service. Nominated by the Steering Committee of the Peabody Chapter of the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association, Sidlin is the eighth Peabody graduate to receive the award. Other Peabody recipients include Awadagin Pratt (PC ’89 Piano; PC ’89 Violin; GPD ’92 Conducting) in 2008, Kim Kashkashian (’73, Viola) in 2007, and Andre Watts (AD ’72, Piano) in 1981. Prior to receiving the award on Saturday, June 4, Sidlin will speak at Peabody at 11:00 am about the education of and opportunities for today’s musicians and the evolution of the music profession in the 21st century in a lecture titled “The Echo of the Concert Hall.”