- Artists through the years: 2002 - 2019 (.PDF)
- Producer and Artistic Director, John Nugent Bio
- Producer and Executive Director, Marc Iacona Bio
The CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival is one of the world’s leading jazz festivals presenting legendary performers, familiar favorites, rising stars, and new discoveries from around the world.
The multi-dimensional nine-day festival is held annually in Rochester, NY, and presents more than 1750 artists from around the world in 325+ shows at 20 venues. Founded in 2002, attendance has grown from 15,000 in 2002 to 208,000 in 2019. The economic impact delivered to the region now exceeds $180 million.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic and in our attempt to do everything possible to deliver a festival, the 19th Edition festival was rescheduled from its original dates June 19-27, 2020, to Oct 2-10, 2020, and then to June 18-26, 2021, and then to July 30-Aug 7 and finally to June 17-25, 2022. See our full announcement on the 19th Edition in 2022.
Navigating all genres of creative improvised music the festival brings together unique musical sounds from many countries, highlighting international artists' take on the only truly American art form - jazz. It is presented in three series:
- Headliner series, traditionally a ticketed series, in this transitional year, all 11 headliner shows are free and all on outdoor stages in 2022.
- Club Pass Series of 196 shows, accessible with the festival's unique value pass to discovery, the Club Pass, or single entry cash only at the door. The popular Club Pass provides access to all club venues to sample a wide spectrum of music. It's no wonder the festival motto is "It's not who you know, it's who you don't know."
- 130+ free shows and events including outdoor stage headliners, workshops for music students and nightly jam sessions, where there's no telling who will drop in to play. It's said that jazz never sleeps and this event proves it as the music goes on deep into the night – often with unsung musicians who electrify the room.
Jazz Scholarship Program
Our jazz scholarship program has awarded almost $500,000 in scholarships to 40 students entering Eastman School of Music since 2002.
The CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival is produced by RIJF, LLC, a privately held company owned by John Nugent and Marc Iacona. Nugent, Producer and Artistic Director, is a noted tenor sax player, who has traveled the world with many jazz artists including Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Rosemary Clooney, The Woody Herman Orchestra and The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. Marc Iacona, Producer and Executive Director, is a Rochester native and President of Simcona Electronics. A business and community leader, he is an avid trumpeter and supporter of the arts.
The Festival's popularity continues to escalate. We are grateful to be recognized on local and national levels year after year.
- Most Missed Local Festival of 2020 by City Newspaper Readers Oct 2020
By far the most-hyped festival in town, this event packs the East End and draws international attention.
- Best Festival: Rochester Business Journal Reader Rankings 2019
Best Summer Jazz Festivals in the World 2019 by Dandelion Chandelier
Repeatedly named the top favorite arts and cultural event by Rochester Business Journal readers for the last five years
Best Festival by City Newspaper for the last 12 years
One of the Best 50 Music Festivals in the World by Culture Trip
- The Top 15 Festivals in New York to Experience Before You Die
Nurturing the Next Generation
Investing in the next generation is a major focus of the festival. The festival established the first jazz music scholarship at the renowned Eastman School of Music, awarding almost $500,000 to 40 students to attend the prestigious school since the festival began in 2002. Each year a free scholarship concert is held during the festival featuring the scholarship winners.
Since 2013 an expanded Youth Jazz Workshop Series led by visiting musicians has been offered over five days for young music students and is sponsored by Wegmans.
More than 20 high school jazz bands, the best in the region, are invited to perform each year on the Jazz Street stage. Many youth ensembles from the Eastman School's community education program are also given an opportunity to play.
In addition to delivering an exhilarating and diverse program of music, RIJF is also proud to make a significant economic impact on the Rochester region, exceeding $180 million over 18 years.
Impacting tourism - people come from all across the world to attend, corporations schedule major meeting and events during the festival, travel and meeting planners attend to explore the region for future meetings and conferences, and local music lovers often take the week off to enjoy all nine days of the festivities without worrying about staying up late!
The festival's impact can also be felt throughout the year. It has paved the way for more live music in area venues and built audiences for many artists who are invited back by other area organizations for fundraisers and concerts.
The RIJF organization has been a tireless advocate for the arts as a key sector of our economy and a significant influence in showcasing Rochester, New York's wide-ranging resources and riches in the cultural arts making it a destination for people worldwide.
Festival Series & Venues
The festival is presented in three series: Headliner, Club Pass, and Free Shows. There are also nightly jam sessions and workshops for young musicians.
Nightly from 10:30 – 'til...
No cover charge. Food and beverages are available. Led by Bob Sneider and Karl Stabnau
Updated May 5, 2022