Skip to main content

Moravian College to confer Honorary Doctorate on Neil Sedaka 

The legendary composer and performer to receive degree for his contributions to music on April 12

BETHLEHEM, PA, February 28, 2019: Today, Moravian College announced that on Friday, April 12 it will be honoring award-winning composer and artist Neil Sedaka with a concert of his music, performed by renowned pianist Jeffrey Biegel, and the presentation of an honorary doctorate, the Doctor of Music. Mr. Biegel will be accompanied by a full orchestra of students, faculty and professional musicians. The Moravian College Big Band will also perform some newly arranged versions of Mr. Sedaka’s best known compositions. The concert is presented as part of the Moravian College Arts & Lectures series.

Moravian College President Bryon Grigsby will confer the honorary degree to Mr. Sedaka on Friday, April 12 at 7:30 p.m. in Moravian College’s Foy Concert Hall, 342 Main Street, Bethlehem, PA.  Tickets for the concert are available to the general public and can be purchased through the Lehigh Valley Arts Council.

“Mr. Sedaka has been a pop music icon spanning a 60-plus year career,” said Dr. Neil Wetzel, chair of the music department at Moravian College. “We are honored to have an artist of Mr. Sedaka’s caliber and stature here on campus.”

Classically trained at Juilliard, Sedaka’s impressive career includes being one of the first teen idols of the 50’s, a tunesmith in the 60’s, a superstar in the 70’s, who still performs to sold audiences worldwide. His prolific songwriting partnership with Howard Greenfield has sold forty million records and includes: “Oh! Carol,” “Calendar Girl,” “Where The Boys Are” (by Connie Francis), “Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen” and “Breaking Up is Hard To Do.” Sedaka’s enormous popularity in the UK during The British Invasion caught the attention of Elton John. Sir Elton signed Sedaka to his American label, Rocket Records, and re-introduced his music to American audiences and resulted in three #1 hits; "Bad Blood", "Laughter in the Rain” and “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do”, the latter making music history by becoming the first song recorded in two different versions by the same artist to reach #1. During this time, Captain and Tennille scored a #1 hit and the Grammy for Record of the Year with Sedaka/Greenfield’s "Love Will Keep Us Together". The line “Sedaka Is Back” can be heard as the song fades out.

“I am deeply honored to be receiving this Doctorate from Moravian College,” said Sedaka. “I went to the Preparatory School at Juilliard for eight years and the college for two, but never finished and left to pursue a career in pop music. To receive this commendation in the year of my eightieth birthday is incredibly gratifying.”

“When Neil first shared that he was composing a piano concerto, and asked if he could send it to me when it was finished, I said 'Yes, please!'” said Jeffrey Biegel, a 2016 recipient of a Moravian College Honorary Doctorate.  “When I first listened to “Manhattan Intermezzo”, my first impression was how beautifully he wove in his life, his heritage, his love of New York, and how unique this piece truly is. I am greatly honored that Neil has allowed me to perform it, record it and share it with audiences far and wide."

Event Details:
Honorary Degree ceremony and concert to honor Neil Sedaka
Friday, April 12, 2019 @ 7:30 p.m.
Moravian College, Foy Concert Hall
342 Main Street, Bethlehem, PA
Tickets: Visit the Lehigh Valley Arts Council Box Office:
Additional information: Please contact Moravian College Music Department at 610-861-1650 or

Media contact:
Michael Corr
Director of Marketing and Communications

About Moravian College
Moravian College is a private coeducational liberal arts college, located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, offering undergraduate and graduate degrees. For more than 275 years, the Moravian College degree has been based on a liberal arts curriculum where literature, history, science, cultural values, global issues, ethics, artistic expression, and the social sciences are infused with multidisciplinary perspectives. Visit to learn more about how the Moravian College liberal arts curriculum prepares its students for life-long success.