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Entertainment & the Arts


Rochester Ballet Theater (Photo: Gene Turner)

It's often said that Rochester has the friendly attitude of a smaller city and the arts and entertainment of a big city.

You'll find live music every night of the week in venues of all kinds, from concert halls to cozy cafes.

That's because Rochester has a top music school and philharmonic orchestra. With deep roots in classical music, the local cultural scene has sprouted branches in jazz, opera, punk, folk-you name it. Thousands of performers in music, dance and theater call Rochester home.

The Eastman School of Music and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the leading civic orchestras in the country, anchor downtown's East End, where the annual Rochester International Jazz Festival brings more than 250 shows and 800 musicians from around the world for nine days in June.

Rochester has an abundance of live theater. Among the big players are Geva Theatre Center (which has the highest attendance among regional theaters in New York), Mercury Opera Rochester, Downstairs Cabaret Theatre and Blackfriars Theatre.

In the world of dance, Rochester's own Garth Fagan Dance, an award-winning modern dance company, sells out shows around the globe. The company is based downtown. Rochester City Ballet has a distinguished presence in the region and brings talented choreographers and performers to Rochester.

The visual arts also thrive here. Painting, sculpture, metalworking and woodworking programs at the area's numerous colleges and universities produce talented alumni. Those people strengthen the arts in Rochester when they remain in the area after graduation.

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