College Music Society to Host National Conference in Rochester, NY

Event is the first conference to return to Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center since March 2020


The College Music Society will host its 64th National Conference in Rochester, NY on October 7-9, 2021. This is the first convention group to utilize the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

The College Music Society is a national membership organization made up of music professionals in higher education. College Music Society members are college, conservatory, university, and independent musicians and scholars interested in all disciplines of music.

More than 350 members of the College Music Society will meet in Rochester for the organization’s annual conference. The event will take place at both the Floreano Convention Center and the Eastman School of Music.

"As Program Chair for the 2021 CMS National Conference, I am excited that our conference participants will be able to engage in events both in the beautiful Floreano Convention Center and at the outstanding facilities in the Eastman School of Music, just a short walk away,” said Tracy Cowden, Department Chair, Roland K. Blumberg Endowed Professor in Music, The University of Texas at San Antonio. “This will likely be the first face-to-face conference for our participants in quite a while, and I am grateful that we have received such wonderful hospitality from Visit Rochester and our various event hosts. And, as an alumna of the Eastman School of Music, I know that October is a lovely time to be in this city!”

The 2021 CMS National Conference in Rochester will feature performances, papers, workshops, panels, campfire discussions, and more that will highlight the pivotal role of music in the intersections among higher education, music, and social justice movements.

Many sessions will feature music and discussions celebrating diverse ethnic, cultural, and gender identities. From the welcome ceremony, which features a performance by Iroquois Dancers and a thanksgiving address by members of the Seneca Tribe, to the closing discussion pods that will send conference attendees on to inspire and lead change in their own communities, the CMS National Conference will be a call to action for attendees.

COVID-19 precautions and safety measures will be in place, per the policies of the Floreano Convention Center.

The Return of Meetings and Conventions

The meetings and conventions industry, both here in Rochester and across the country, has been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The return of conferences, like the College Music Society, signal the gradual return of meetings and conventions that draw attendees from around the country to Rochester and Monroe County.

“The venue industry has faced challenges like never before, but we have a resilient, innovative staff who is prepared and ready to safely welcome guests back through our doors,” said James Brown, Executive Director, Floreano Convention Center. “Our facility has installed touchless technology, improved our air filtration systems, and received a GBAC STARTM Accreditation, demonstrating our ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from the pandemic. We are thrilled to be hosting the College Music Society National Conference and look forward to hosting more local, state, and national events as our community continues to recover.”

The College Music Society National Conference is the first of several national associations to host a conference or meeting in Rochester, and use the downtown convention district, this fall. Convening groups in the coming months include:

While tools like Zoom and other virtual meeting platforms have been beneficial over the past year, many groups are seeing the value and the need to meet in person, while following current COVID-19 safety guidelines and precautions. This proven need for in-person engagement and education is critical in helping the meetings and conventions industry recover over the next year.

In addition to meetings and conventions, sports tournaments and events have been bringing visitors to Rochester over the past year, and will continue to bring athletes, their families and fans to Monroe County. Of note, Rochester is a popular destination for youth hockey tournaments and events, and these events will continue through fall and winter 2021.

Bringing Back Visitors Brings Dollars Into the Community

The tourism and hospitality industry in Monroe County has shown strong signs of recovery over the past 18 months. Hotel occupancy rates continue to rise month-over-month, and visitation levels continue to increase to near 2019 levels.  

“As the tourism industry in Monroe County continues to rebuild and recover, the reopening of the Floreano Convention Center and the return of conventions to the downtown convention district is a welcome sign of continued recovery,” said Don Jeffries, President & CEO, Visit Rochester. “The arrival of the College Music Society for the organization’s 2021 National Conference is an indicator of the Rochester community’s ability to safely welcome back meetings, conventions and conferences to the area.”  

Meetings, conventions and events play a critical role in attracting visitors and visitor spending to Monroe County. Prior to the pandemic, the annual economic impact of the tourism and hospitality industry in Monroe County was more than $1 billion.

Visit Rochester is the official tourism promotion agency for Greater Rochester and Monroe County. Visit Rochester is a membership organization with over 400 members representing, lodging, retail, restaurants, services, and community organizations. Working together with our members and partners, our mission is to sell and market Greater Rochester as a preferred destination in order to grow and maximize visitor spending and to enhance the economy. To learn more go to

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