Rob Kapilow and Kyle Athayde Dance Party present ‘What Makes It Great? The Music of Duke Ellington’ on Oct. 11

Oct 6, 2015

On Sunday, Oct. 11, at 7:30 p.m., Performance Music at The University of Scranton presents an “informance” by critically and popularly acclaimed composer, conductor, educator, author, pianist and commentator Rob Kapilow. The event takes place in the University’s Houlihan McLean Center (Mulberry St. at Jefferson Ave.). Admission is free and the performance is open to the public.

Kapilow will team with The Kyle Athayde Dance Party for the evening’s “What Makes It Great?®” presentation, focusing on the music of the famous American composer Duke Ellington, a program they recently premiered as part of the Celebrity Series of Boston.

For more than 30 years, Kapilow has brought the joy and wonder of music – and unraveled some of its mysteries – to audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Characterized by his unique ability to create “aha” moments for his audiences and collaborators, he models the Jesuit practice of applying timeless messages to current times.

Kapilow’s range of activities is astonishingly broad, including his “What Makes It Great?®” presentations, “Family Musik®” compositions/events and “Citypieces.” The reach of his interactive activities is geographically and culturally wide, ranging from Native American tribal communities in Montana to inner-city high school students in Louisiana, and his audiences are diverse and sometimes unexpected.

Kapilow’s popularity and appeal are reflected in a variety of notable invitations and achievements. He has appeared on NBC’s Today Show and was featured in a special “What Makes It Great?®” on PBS’s Live From Lincoln Center. His first book, “All You Have To Do Is Listen,” won the PSP Prose Award. His second book, “What Makes It Great?,”  was the first book of its kind to be designed for the iPad with embedded musical examples. A documentary film, “Summer Sun, Winter Moon,” which traces the process of Kapilow’s composition of the same name from conception to premiere, has been broadcast more than 250 times on public television.

Kapilow has conducted most of America’s major orchestras and his compositions have been performed by nearly every major American orchestra, as well as orchestras in Europe, Asia and Australia. He accepted his first commission for a composition from The University of Scranton in 1985. He received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from The University of Scranton in 2009 and also served as commencement speaker.

The Kyle Athayde Dance Party is a 20-piece big band comprised of some of the most virtuosic, unique, exciting young musicians in New York City. The members are alumni of the classical and jazz departments of The Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music and the New School and have very illustrious careers in their own right. The combination of these various areas of stylistic expertise and the unique personalities of the musicians allows the Dance Party to produce a unique and exciting sound, as Athayde imagines and composes the music specifically for them, just as Duke Ellington did for his own band. The group is acclaimed for its unique sound and the excitement their performances generate.

For additional information about “What Makes It Great? The Music of Duke Ellington,” email, call 570-941-7624, or visit

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