New York City offers free concerts by professional musicians all year long, not just during the summer. Since some of the country's best music schools are here, hardly a day goes by without a fabulous free concert by some future virtuoso. As with all free events, get there early.
The Best Free Lunchtime Concerts (Downtown)
Concerts at One - Trinity Church (74 Trinity Place, Broadway at Wall St.; tel. 212/602-0747; www.trinitywallstreet.org) 1pm Mondays & Thursdays; in summer, Thursdays only
Enjoy a free classical music concert series on Thursdays at Trinity Church and on Mondays at St. Paul's Chapel (209 Broadway, at Fulton St.). Both St. Paul's and Trinity Church are National Historic Landmarks and worth visiting at any time.
Lunch Hour - Maiden Lane Concert Series (180 Maiden Lane, between Front & South St.; tel. 212/769-7406; www.juilliard.edu) 12:30pm Tuesdays
Juilliard artists present one-hour chamber music concerts at lunchtime throughout the year -- selections include Bach, Debussy, Beethoven and more.
Free Lincoln Center Concerts
No matter what your taste in music -- jazz, rock, world or classical -- you can hear it for free in the Atrium on Thursday nights. Arrive at least an hour in advance for seating. (There's also a discount tickets booth for all same-day Lincoln Center events in the Atrium.)
Jazz at Lincoln Center (Frederick P. Rose Hall, Broadway at 60th St.; www.jalc.org) Call tel. 212/258-9800 any day to find out what free events are happening.
The Rhythm Road Concerts (Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, Frederick P. Rose Hall; tel. 212/258-9800; www.jalc.org/TheRoad) Saturdays
Jazz at Lincoln Center, in partnership with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, presents a free annual series of ensembles performing jazz, urban, and other American roots music. Seating is first come, first served.
Listening Parties (Irene Diamond Education Center, Frederick P. Rose Hall; tel. 212/258-9800; www.jalc.org/listeningparty) Various evenings, 7pm
Listen to new jazz albums with the artists who recorded them. If you can't make it to one of these fun free Education Events, tune in later online.
Educated Listening: The Best Free Concerts
These hour-long concerts by Juilliard students are held throughout the school year. Since many of Juilliard's graduates go on to fame and fortune, hear them now for free!
Juilliard Orchestra Concerts (tel. 212/769-7406; www.juilliard.edu)
The orchestra, featuring world-renowned guest conductors, performs in several venues but the concerts at The Peter Jay Sharp Theater and in Alice Tully Hall are free. Pick up free tickets, starting two weeks prior to performances.
Manhattan School of Music (120 Claremont Ave., at Broadway & 122nd St.; box office tel. 917/493-4428; www.msmnyc.edu/calendar) No concerts in the summertime, June through August
The school offers hundreds of free public concerts everything from Master Classes to Café Jazz, classical performances, and chamber ensembles. Your best bet is to check the online Events calendar or call the box office.
Master Classes (Greenfield Recital Hall, Manhattan School of Music) 4pm Wednesdays
World-famous musicians coach up-and-coming performers. The recital is followed by a critique from the guest artist, such as pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard, cellist Bonnie Hampton, or Glenn Dicterow, the principal violinist of the New York Philharmonic.
Throughout the year, you can find a pretty good selection of free music events on Club freeTime (www.clubfreetime.com); the membership fee costs $19.95 for one year, $7.95 for three months, $2.95 for two months, and $1.95 for one week.
Talk with fellow Frommer's travelers on our New York Forum.