Hot, cool, rocking, elegant, bluesy, jazzy, danceable – music flows through the air in Rochester! Whether you’re in the heart of downtown, in the East End neighborhood, at the Water Street Music Hall, or at the majestic Eastman Theatre, you’ll find live music and performances almost every day of the year. Take your pick of venues and pick your music genre for some music magic in Rochester, NY.
Eastman Theatre is home to three stages and an array of performances and concerts from the acclaimed Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra to international guest artists and large-scale opera productions. The opulent theatre is also home to many of Rochester’s cherished annual performances including The Nutcracker with Rochester City Ballet, Gala Holiday Pops, and is a top venue for the Rochester International Jazz Festival.
Are you a film and music buff? Special event performances at Eastman Theatre include the screening of popular films such as Harry Potter or Ghostbusters accompanied by the film’s score being performed by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.
Eastman School of Music
The Eastman School of Music is one of the world's premiere schools of music in America and is the hub of Rochester’s vibrant music scene right on Gibbs Street. Chamber ensembles composed of faculty and students as well as solo performers regularly take the stage for free performances. Be sure to catch a concert during your visit to Rochester!
The Rochester International Jazz Festival is one of the world’s leading jazz festivals with nine days of legendary performances happening in venues and stages all around downtown Rochester—annually at the end of June. The surrounding streets near Eastman Theatre are closed off to create an atmosphere buzzing with music, people, and spots to grab food and drinks as crowds gather to enjoy the free jazz, blues, and reggae concerts happening on the festival’s outdoor stages.
The Gateways Music Festival is a biennial event that features classically trained musicians of African descent. The festival includes more than 30 solo, chamber, and orchestra performances around Rochester.
Summer festival favorites like the Rochester Lilac Festival, Corn Hill Arts Festival and Park Avenue Summer Arts Festival all feature live music and entertainment.
Summer Concert Series
Every summer in downtown Rochester, Martin Luther King Jr. Park transforms into a music mecca for nine consecutive Thursdays. Party in the Park is a weekly concert series hosted by the City of Rochester that presents a wide range of music including blues, funk, rock, reggae, and classic rock attracting devoted music fans and families to come out and enjoy the beautiful summer season.
Live at MLK! is a new concert series happening in downtown Rochester that also utilizes Martin Luther King Jr. Park -- adjacent to The Strong Museum -- as a unique outdoor venue. The concert series presents incredible talent on select dates throughout the summer. Both general admission and VIP Ultra Lounge tickets are available.
Concerts by the Shore is a summer concert series with live music on the shores of Lake Ontario, taking place Wednesday nights in the summer at Ontario Beach Park.
Music Shops & More
Rochester offers some unique music shopping experiences!
Record Archive: More than a record store, the Record Archive is a music and entertainment destination with new and used music, vinyl, and CDs, as well as unique gifts and specialties. The Record Archive is the first record store in the North East to have a beer and wine license, so you can sip while you shop or while you enjoy the many free live events the store hosts each week in its Backroom Lounge.
Bernunzio Uptown Music: This downtown shop right on East Avenue is where vintage instruments are sold and repaired.
The House of Guitars: Legendary music shop, also known as The HOG, is the largest guitar store in the world. Today the House of Guitars is known for its collection of new, used, and vintage instruments as well as the historic photos and autographs that cover the store’s walls. The store is a destination for famous musicians and bands to visit when they come to Rochester.