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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions

Free summer events

Exciting performances, thought-provoking lectures

The School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions invites you to continue your education in one of the most enjoyable ways possible—by attending our free summer events series! We offer concerts and lectures at no charge to encourage you to take a chance and experience something new or listen to music you may never have heard, all while visiting our gorgeous campus.

See the Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday pages for a list of past events.


Upcoming events

Friday, June 28, 2019, 7:00 pm
Cornell University Arts Quad
Dubbed "Ghana's most artistic drummer" (Modern Ghana), Ghana-born drummer and composer, Paa Kow, (pronounced Pah-Ko) blends rhythm and artistry from his home with jazz and African roots creating his own Afro-Fusion sound. Touring internationally with his custom Ghanaian drum set and his Afro-Fusion Orchestra, Paa Kow brings concert goers an extraordinary musical experience filled with deep grooves and incredible beats. Paa Kow has shared stages with many African and American luminaries including Kojo Antwi, Amakye Dede and Victor Wooten. "Paa Kow has taken the world music of his native Ghana, and tossed it into a basket with heaps of American influences to create an album that the great purveyors of world music - the Paul Simon's and the Bela Fleck's of the world - would envy." - Marquee Magazine In case of thunderstorms or heavy rain, the concert will take place in the Rhodes-Rawlings Auditorium in Klarman Hall.
Friday, July 5, 2019, 7:00 pm
Cornell University Arts Quad
The Blind Spots return to Ithaca this summer following a national tour supporting their fourth studio album, "Talk." The tenured, five-piece moxy-rock band steered by the magnetic Maddy Walsh (think Heart, think Adele, Blondie, and Joan Jett all rolled into one) are sure to bring a high-energy performance to Cornell's Summer Event Series with original tunes and an incessant penchant for fun. The Blind Spots have shared bills with Lake Street Dive, Silversun Pickups, Valerie June, Amy Helm, Rubblebucket, Donna the Buffalo, Sharon Jones, The Punch Brothers, and many others. "Maddy Walsh, the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist of the Ithaca, NY-based The Blind Spots, has a Janis Joplin-kind of charisma. Walsh holds her own in the rock music world." - Centre Daily Times In case of thunderstorms or heavy rain, the concert will take place in the Rhodes-Rawlings Auditorium in Klarman Hall.​​​​​​​
Tuesday, July 9, 2019, 7:00 pm
Rhodes-Rawlings Auditorium at Klarman Hall
Banjo player Richie Stearns of The Horse Flies fame and the old-time music duo Ritchie and Rosie, has performed and recorded around the world with Bela Fleck, Pete Seeger, David Byrne, Natalie Merchant, Wilco, and many others. With the Finger Lakes Old-Time All-Stars, Ritchie brings along Aaron Lipp on stand-up bass and other guests to perform fresh and spirited Americana, old-time, and folk brimming with soul.
Friday, July 12, 2019, 7:00 pm
Cornell University Arts Quad
A former child piano prodigy, singer-songwriter Jon Petronzio blossomed into a virtuoso musician highly regarded in the jam band scene. Touring and recording with roots music innovators John Brown’s Body, Petronzio has shared the stage with Sublime, Groundation, Freddy McGregor, Galactic, SOJA, the Easy Star All-Stars, and many others. On a break from extensive touring, Petronzio jumped at the chance to pursue a solo project: Road Man. In this current incarnation, Road Man and his talented band of musicians present an invigorating and body-moving mix of funk, blues, and reggae driven by Petronzio's awesome keys and soulful voice. "[Road Man's] stylish yet natural voice, expressed with such conviction and passion is perfectly placed over a stunning set of summer vibes. This is Reggae, Roots, and Soul at their very best." --Stereo Stickman
Tuesday, July 16, 2019, 7:00 pm
Sage Chapel
New York City's acclaimed Aeolus Quartet presents a very special program to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11, the mission that put humankind on the moon and Cornell's ties to space exploration. Mysterium will feature Oswaldo Golijov’s Tenebrae, which was inspired by the "Pale Blue Dot" photo taken by Voyager 1 of the Earth and the basis of Carl Sagan’s book of the same name. Aeolus Quartet consists of violinists Nicholas Tavani and Rachel Shapiro, violist Caitlin Lynch, and cellist Alan Richardson. Since its inception, the all-American quartet has been awarded prizes at nearly every major competition in the United States and performed across the globe. They were the 2013-2015 Graduate Resident String Quartet at the Juilliard School, and they currently make their home in New York City. Mysterium Oswaldo Golijov Tenebrae Alexandra Bryant Mysterium Beethoven Op 131 “Impressive musical intelligence guided every technical and dramatic turn...” —The Cleveland Plain Dealer "Aeolus Quartet combin(es) smoothly meshed technique with a sense of spontaneity and discovery." —The Baltimore Sun
Wednesday, July 17, 2019, 7:00 pm
Call Auditorium, Kennedy Hall
Award-winning journalist and space historian Andrew Chaikin brings the Apollo 11 mission back to life with stories about his one-on-one interviews with the first men on the moon: Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Mike Collins. He'll also provide historical insights to this incredible mission on its 50th anniversary. Chaikin's “A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts,” is an acclaimed portrait of heroism and ingenuity leading to one of the greatest triumphs in human history. Based on in-depth interviews with twenty-three of the twenty-four moon voyagers, as well as those who struggled to get the program moving, the book conveys every aspect of the Apollo missions with breathtaking immediacy and stunning detail. The Apollo astronauts themselves have called it the definitive account of their missions. The book was also the main basis for the Emmy-winning HBO miniseries, 'From the Earth to the Moon,' starring Tom Hanks. Chaikin has authored books and articles about space exploration and astronomy for more than three decades. Writer-director James Cameron ("Titanic," "Aliens of the Deep") called him “our best historian of the space age.”
Friday, July 19, 2019, 7:00 pm
Cornell Arts Quad
Celestial grooves for the celebration of life is how Arthur B and The Planetary Mix describes their classic R&B influenced sound. Silky rhythms supplied by vocalist and guitarist Arthur B and soulful harmonies from Jessie Baldassari, Angie Beeler (locals may know her best from Miss Angie Music), and Karen Wyatte meld into a smooth, sunshine sound that will make you want to snap and sway. The band's live performances have been described as "A rare treat" and "Pure soul healing."
Tuesday, July 23, 2019, 7:00 pm
Klarman Hall
Celebrated pianist John White of Ithaca College brings along four other gifted musicians, who all happen to be music educators in the Finger Lakes region, for an evening of Latin jazz. Paul Merril (Cornell University) plays trumpet, Mike Carbone (Binghamton University) on sax and flute, Peter Chwazik (Cornell University, Ithaca College) on bass, and Tom Killian (Ithaca College and Elmira) on drums.
Friday, July 26, 2019, 7:00 pm
Cornell University Arts Quad
Come out for a free Latin dance party on the Arts Quad with Jorge T. Cuevas and the Caribe Jazz All-Stars. Featuring some of the region’s best jazz musicians, the All-Stars play an irresistible mix of originals and jazz standards in the styles of salsa, cha cha, bolero, samba, and merengue. Rain location: Rhodes Rawlings Auditorium in Klarman Hall
Tuesday, July 30, 2019, 7:00 pm
Klarman Hall
Celtic trio Arise & Go brings stunning musical precision and energy to every show. Members Ellie Goud, Michael Roddy, and Tim Ball use a diverse range of Celtic sounds to perform traditional melodies, instrumentals, and fresh new arrangements of favorite compositions.
Friday, August 2, 2019, 7:00 pm
Cornell Arts Quad
Mosaic Foundation performs forward thinking reggae that stays true to the roots. The band has grown a loyal following, thanks to electric live performances and four studio releases. Mosaic pushes reggae to the limits and sometimes spills over with a dynamic blend of roots, ska, dub, dance-hall, and beyond. Their rhythms inspire dancing in the moment fueled by songs that encourage positivity, living in harmony with the planet, and community. Mosaic Foundation has opened for world renowned reggae artists Toots and the Maytals, Lee "Stratch" Perry, Rebelution, Passafire, and local favorites like John Brown's Body and Thousands of One. In case of thunderstorms or heavy rain, the concert will take place in the Rhodes-Rawlings Auditorium in Klarman Hall.


"Fun, fascinating, and free—It's a trifecta!" —David Gersh

"I love summer in Ithaca because of the series. Keep it up, SCE!"

"It's a wonderful community resource—a great variety of events, and you can't beat the price."