Rob Kapilow Presents What Makes It Great? GERSHWIN – Rhapsody in Blue at the CCPA on Wed., Feb. 1, 7:30 PM

CERRITOS, CA – Long exalted as “Classical music’s greatest evangelist” by the Boston Herald, ROB KAPILOW explores GERSHWIN – Rhapsody in Blue at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts (CCPA) on Wednesday, February 1, 7:30 PM. Tickets for the program are $55. The show is sponsored by George & Bev Ray.

Composer Kapilow explores George Gershwin’s most recognized composition, Rhapsody in Blue, with William Cunliffe, a music professor from California State University in Fullerton. Gershwin’s piece helped to define the Jazz Age and eventually became one of the most popular concert works. The Wall Street Journal raved that “Gershwin's fusion of jazz and classical traditions captures the thriving melting pot of Jazz Age New York.”

For more than a decade, Kapilow has brought the joys and wonder of music to audiences of all ages and backgrounds with his What Makes It Great? presentations, which dissect and examine the mysteries of music in terms everyone can grasp and appreciate. Part One is an entertaining discussion displaying Kapilow’s gift for observation and his animated teaching style. Part Two features performances of the composition. The evening concludes with Part Three, a spirited Q&A on the work. The New York Times called the series “the kind of enlightening musical seminar in which you hang on to every word and note.”

Cited by The Boston Globe as “an educator, motivational speaker, and game show host, all rolled up in one,” Kapilow has built a loyal following and a name for himself around the world. His renowned What Makes It Great? series is a recurring event at New York’s Lincoln Center and in Boston, Cerritos, and Kansas City. Kapilow’s acclaimed FamilyMusik series introduces youths to all things musical; and Citypieces celebrates American life – its history, citizens, diversity, and destination – through collaborative compositions.

Kapilow claimed the top spot in the Fontainebleau Casadesus Piano Competition, and Second Prize in the Antal Dorati Conductor’s Competition with the Detroit Symphony. He is a featured composer on Chicago Public Radio’s prestigious Composers in America series and a recipient of an Exxon “Meet-the-Composer” grant and awards from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. He spearheaded the Tony award-winning Nine on Broadway and the premiere of Frida for the opening of the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival.

He authored the award-winning book All You Have to Do Is Listen; its follow-up What Makes It Great? Short Masterpieces, Great Composers; and Listening for America: Inside the Great American Songbook From Gershwin to Sondheim.          

Grammy winner Cunliffe is a Jazz pianist-composer and acclaimed arranger-record producer. He was awarded a 2009 Grammy for “Best Instrumental Arrangement” for West Side Story Medley on the album Resonance Big Band Plays Tribute to Oscar Peterson. He received “Best Instrumental Composition” Grammy nominations for his piano concerto Overture, Waltz and Rondo and for fourth stream … La Banda. The Los Angeles Jazz Society awarded him its prestigious “Composer/Arranger Award.”

For tickets or more information, call (562) 916-8500 or go to

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