The University of Scranton to Host Performance by Rob Kapilow and Magdalyn E. Boga

Members News

Performance Music at The University of Scranton will kick off its Fall 2023 concert schedule Friday, Sept. 8, with a presentation of “What Makes It Great? The Great American Songbook,” featuring Rob Kapilow H ’09 with soprano Magdalyn E. Boga.

The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Houlihan-McLean Center, Mulberry Street and Jefferson Avenue. Admission is free, with seating on a first-come, first-seated basis.

Part of Kapilow’s long-running “What Makes It Great?” series, the presentation/concert will illuminate for attendees the difference between hearing and listening as Kapilow demonstrates how to pay attention to all the great elements of a song that might otherwise go unnoticed. The evening will include various selections from the Great American Songbook sung by Boga, including the duet “For Good” from “Wicked” in which she will be joined by fellow soprano Jessica Hitchcock.

“Rob has a special gift for creating what he refers to as ‘AHA! moments’ for his audiences,” said Performance Music Conductor and Director Cheryl Y. Boga. “Everyone in the hall – regardless of musical ability or experience – finds their ears opened by his presentations.”

A frequent Performance Music collaborator and acclaimed conductor, composer, music commentator and author, Kapilow has developed a devoted national and international following through his “What Makes It Great?” and “Family Musik” performances. He has appeared on NBC’s “Today” show, presented a special “What Makes It Great?” for PBS’s “Live From Lincoln Center,” and was the subject of a full-length PBS documentary, “Summer Sun, Winter Moon.” His “What Makes It Great?” radio series was broadcast for more than a decade on NPR’s “Performance Today.”

Kapilow has written several books, including “Listening for America: Inside the Great American Songbook from Gershwin to Sondheim,” which was a finalist for the Marfield Prize, and he was the first composer to be granted the rights to set Dr. Seuss’ words to music.

Through the years, Kapilow has conducted many of North America’s major orchestras, as well as numerous works of musical theater, among them the Tony Award-winning “Nine” on Broadway, the premiere of “Frida” for the opening of the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival, and works for the American Repertory Theater. He’s received a number of accolades, including first place in the Fontainebleau Casadesus Piano Competition and second place in the Antal Dorati Conductor’s Competition with the Detroit Symphony.

A member of the University’s History faculty since 2010, Magdalyn Boga is equipped with a vocal range of nearly three octaves and a lyric voice capable of unusual power. She studied voice with renowned Bulgarian baritone/bass Guenko Guechev and Chinese mezzo-soprano Xiu-Ru Liu and has delivered solo, duo and quartet performances of operatic and concert repertoire with choirs and orchestras. She has also performed Baroque duet repertoire with New York City-based trumpeters Joseph Boga (her brother) and the legendary Mark Gould. Boga currently serves as the soprano soloist at First Presbyterian Church in Wilkes-Barre and is an active recitalist and chamber musician, performing as a vocal and instrumental soloist and ensemble member throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania. She teaches voice at Scranton Music Academy, and performs professionally on voice, cello and French horn.

Jessica Hitchcock is a section leader and regular soloist for both the Choral Society of NEPA, and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Pro-Cathedral, Wilkes Barre, and a professional choir member at Temple B’nai B’rith, Kingston, and has performed as a featured soloist with the Arcadia Chorale. Hitchcock has sung throughout the United States, as well as in Austria, Germany, Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey. Aside from her regular performances as a soloist and chorister, Jessica owns and operates The Vocal Studio of Jessica Hitchcock, which is now in its sixteenth year offering high-quality voice and piano lessons to students of all ages.

Also on Sept. 8, Kapilow will present “We’ve Got to Get Ourselves Back to the Garden: Inside the Music and Times of the Woodstock Generation,” as part of the Schemel Forum’s World Affairs Luncheon Seminars at the University. For more information about the luncheon, visit