About RIJF


Jazz in June - When the joy of music brings the world to Rochester, NY

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 210,000 in 2022. The economic impact delivered to the region now approaches $200 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. Our 20th Anniversary Edition will be presented June 23 - July 1, 2023.  

RIJF navigates all genres of creative improvised music bringing 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, ticketed shows at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre and free shows on outdoor stages.
  • Club Pass Series of 196 shows, accessible with the festival's unique Club Pass, a value pass to discovery, 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 just who you know, it's who you don't know."
  • Free shows and events including outdoor stage concerts, 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 42 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.

Global Recognition
The Festival's popularity continues to escalate. We are grateful to be recognized on local and national levels year after year. uide


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.  

Economic Impact
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, approaching $200 million over 19 years. 

Impacting tourism - people come from all across the world to attend, corporations schedule major meetings 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

About the Producers

Marc Iacona - Executive Director & Producer

Marc Iacona is a music festival producer and entrepreneur. A lifelong Rochester, New York native, he is CEO & President of Simcona Electronics Corporation, and CEO of Quadristi, LLC and Spectrum Custom Wire & Cable Manufacturing, LLC.

As an established patron of the arts and the community, Marc is dedicated to philanthropy and helping to build upon Rochester’s creative arts scene and strengthen its economy. Marc currently serves on the Eastman School of Music’s Dean’s Advisory Board and M&T Bank’s Advisory Board. He has served on the Board of Directors for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and participates in the Community Education Division Jazz Studies program at the Eastman School of Music and is proud to have Family Scholarship Foundations at St. John Fisher College, Nazareth College, and Eastman School.

Marc’s mission in life is to create a positive impact in everything that he does. In addition to producing the jazz festival, he invests in start-up companies that will elevate the presence of Rochester and create a positive economic impact.

John Nugent - Artistic Director & Producer

John Nugent is a musician and producer who has contracted and tour managed more than 1100 festival performances by 40 special projects/tours for established American artists including The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Woody Herman Orchestra, Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra, Jazz Legends Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra and many others. Over the past 22 years, John has been artistic director and co-producer of 46 major jazz festivals in the United States and Scandinavia.

Nugent graduated from St. Francis Xavier University with a diploma in Jazz Studies, attended the Banff School of Fine Arts, and then embarked on a four-year stint in jazz studies at North Texas State University. He has performed with a plethora of well-known musicians and entertainers including Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, Buddy DeFranco, Clark Terry, Mel Lewis, Jim Hall, Bob Hope, the Temptations, the Four Tops and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Born in Newfoundland, Canada, John became a naturalized American citizen in 2003, making Rochester his home, a year after establishing the Rochester International Jazz Festival.

Updated October 2022