From opera star Renee Fleming to pop princess Mariah Carey, it’s now de rigueur for music’s best and brightest to put their own spin on traditional holiday music. While some overwrought arrangements can elicit eye-rolls and groans, others have potential to be new classics. For more than two decades, composer and commentator Rob Kapilow has encouraged us to listen with new ears to old music through his program “What Makes it Great?” Kapilow and Kojo explore how composers and performers use traditional tunes to create beautiful new sounds.


  • Robert Kapilow Composer; Commentator, "What Makes it Great?"; Author, "All You Have to Do Is Listen: Music from the Inside Out" and "What Makes it Great? Short Masterpieces, Great Composers"

Kapilow On Pentatonix

Video from this year’s show: What’s great about Pentatonix’s “Angels We Have Heard On High?”

Preview Of Rob Kapilow's Music For "The Polar Express & Dr. Seuss's Gertrude McFuzz"

Video: Appalachian Spring #7, Doppio Movimento

Video: Angels We Have Heard on High (Pentatonix)

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