Listening to live music is one of life’s most inspiring and transporting experiences – and New York state is among the world’s best music destinations. While traveling all over the state, you’ll find performances by world famous musicians and rising stars at concert halls, clubs and festivals.
The free Memorial Day concert by The New York Philharmonic at St. John the Divine is just one way to start a summer of New York City music. The landmark cathedral also offers exceptional choral and organ music in its “Great Music in a Great Space” series. The NYC music choices seem endless, from trendy new hotspots to icons like The Apollo Theater, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Blue Note (where the most exciting jazz cats jam at brunch and smokin’ late night sessions), and NYC’s ‘floating concert hall,’ Bargemusic.
On Long Island, Tilles Center for the Performing Arts has offered concerts for over 30 years; other fine venues include Staller Center, Dix Hills Performing Arts Center and, for big stadium concerts, Nassau Coliseum!
Travel upstate for your New York musical feast at many lovingly restored venues offering concerts in acoustically perfect settings, such as Tarrytown Music Hall, Troy Music Hall, Proctors, Landmark Theatre at Armory Square, Anderson Center for the Performing Arts, Kleinhans Music Hall, and Woodstock’s Maverick Concerts, where renowned and up-and-coming chamber ensembles and soloists and jazz artists perform in a hand-hewn 1916 woodland “music chapel,” accented by occasional bird songs.
The Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild and Bearsville Theater offer an eclectic array of Woodstock concerts, and the annual Wall Street Jazz Festival attracts a loyal audience to uptown Kingston.
Eastman School of Music in Rochester (called “the hottest music school in America,” by Newsweek) presents concerts by the renowned Rochester Philharmonic and acclaimed musicians in every musical style; downtown, the city hosts Rochester International Jazz Festival each June. Chautauqua Institution offers many summer concerts at an idyllic lakeside setting, via its Symphony Orchestra, Opera Company, Chamber Music series, Glimmerglas Festivaland recitals by exceptional 17-25 year old musicians studying at the annual Music Festival. Or, relive Lake George’s “Golden Age of Song,” with classical and opera concerts by renowned singers, composers, and musicians at The Sembrich. Plan to visit the Glimmerglass Opera Festival with their new, exciting presentations each year in Cooperstown.
Hunter Mountain has hosted summer music festivals for many years, including Mountain Jam, Taste of Country Music Festival, German Alps Festival, and the International Celtic Festival. Belleayre Music Festival likewise offers summer concerts in all styles of music, including a Catskill Mountain Jazz Series in August.
Alive at Five, a downtown Albany “summer Thursdays” tradition, kicks off the weekend with live music by national and regional artists and an atmosphere of block party fun, food, beverages and mingling. Both Proctor's and the Palace Theater presents fine musical theater throughout the year.
And summer just wouldn’t be summer without going to a music festival like Brantling Bluegrass Festival, Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, Syracuse Jazz Festival, or Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival, inspired by Pete Seeger’s desire to clean up NY’s famous river over 40 years ago.
Anywhere you go in New York State, you’re bound to hear some great music!