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Celebrating music, dance, and theatre

Supporting the performing arts

Collaborating across campus and in the community

Why create an Institute for the Performing Arts?

Creative activity and the performing arts are vital to the success of a major research university. The University of Rochester has long enjoyed world-class programs in the performing arts through the Eastman School of Music and our department of music, theater program, and dance program in the School of Arts and Sciences. The city of Rochester is home to a vibrant performing arts community.  The combination of a rich arts environment on campus with a strong local and regional arts community makes the University of Rochester the ideal place for the Institute.

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In the Headlines

December 14, 2016

Generous alumni commit $5 million to support the performing arts

Two University of Rochester graduates, Edgar Smith ’72 and Lusette (Andy) Smith ’72, have committed $5 million to establish the Ed and Andy Smith Endowed Fund for the Performing Arts. The fund will support performing arts programming within the School of Arts & Sciences and seed funding for the proposed construction of a new theater on the River Campus.  Read more.

November 28, 2016

International Theatre Program presents "Circle Mirror Transformation," opening Dec 1

Lauded by the critics as an “absolute feast” and “unheralded gem,” Annie Baker’s Circle Mirror Transformation explores the lives of a group of small town Vermonters through the minutely detailed lens of those characters taking an acting class. Read more here.

September 12, 2016

Rochester at the Fringe

The University of Rochester will once again sponsor a rich line-up of performances as part of this year's First Niagra Rochester Fringe Festival.  The festival kicks off on September 15 and runs until September 24.  For a schedule of Rochester at the Fringe events, click here.

December 23, 2015

InspireDANCE To Feature Jane Comfort and Company

A variety of dance performances, workshops, and master classes will take center stage at the University of RochesterJan 27 through Feb. 1, as part of this year’s annual inspireDANCE festival and include instruction by award–winning choreographer, Jane Comfort.  Click here for full story.

November 16, 2015

International Theatre Program production of Yerma opens on December 3

The International Theatre Program's production of Federico Garcia Lorca's famed tragedy, Yerma, open on December 3 in Todd Theater.  Click here for show dates and a video glimpse into the production.

September 29, 2015

Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood Opens October 8 in Todd Theatre

The International Theater Program production of Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood opens on October 8 at Tood Theatre.  Click here for full story and here for a video glimpse into the rehearsals.

April 28, 2015

Students perform musical theater favorites in end of semester showcase

Students from the Musical Theater Workshop at the University of Rochester will perform stage favorites in a show titled “A New World!”

March 16, 2015

International Theatre Program presents gender-bending adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew

Shakespeare’s play The Taming of the Shrew is often criticized for its portrayal of women as weak and submissive.


Meet the Director

John Covach (Professor of Music) is the director of the University's Institute for Performing Arts and author of the leading textbook history of rock music, What's That Sound? An Introduction to Rock and Its History. His online courses for Coursera have enrolled over 300,000 students worldwide. Explore his writing here.

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Our Mission

The mission of the Institute is to support, cultivate, and promote engagement in the performing arts, encompassing scholarship, performance, and attendance at events, within the College, the university, the Rochester community, and the Western New York region.

Window Dressing


Program of Dance and Movement students perform "Window Dressing"

This year's Meliora Weekend featured an innovative performance by students in the Program of Dance and Music.  Click the tab below to view a brief video that gives a glimpse into the students' experiences in working on this exciting event.

Watch video


The College offers over 200 courses in the performing arts. About 30% of River Campus undergraduates participate in the performing arts each year. The performing arts tradition at UR reaches back over 100 years!

Support the Institute

Rochester is uniquely positioned to advocate, promote, and cultivate the performing arts on campus, in the community, and in the region. If you would like more information about the performing arts at Rochester, including ways of playing a role in supporting our efforts, please Contact us.

Learn More

Want more information about the Institute for Performing Arts? Contact us.