Skip to main content


Sgt. Pepper’s lasting impact, 50 years later

“Ironically, an album that might not strictly speaking have been a concept album ended up being the most influential concept album in the history of rock music,” says John Covach, professor of music and director of the Institute for Popular Music.

Read More

The core of Chuck Berry’s legacy

Rock ‘n roll legend Chuck Berry died on March 18 at the age of 90. In this essay in Macleans, rock historian John Covach remembers what made Berry iconic in a era of song stylists, covers, and lyric sanitization.

Read More

Much more than a teen idol

John Covach, rock historian and director of the University’s Institute for Popular Music, summarized Michael’s impact on and influence in an essay for CNN.

Read More

John Covach, Director

Advisory Board Members

Lori Burns, University of Ottawa
Walter Everett, University of Michigan
Susan Fast, McMaster University
Andrew Flory, Carleton College
Robert Fink, University of California, Los Angeles
Daniel Harrison, Yale University
Portia Maultsby, Indiana University
Allan Moore, University of Surrey
Jocelyn Neal, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Guthrie Ramsey, University of Pennsylvania
Mark Spicer, Hunter College, City University of New York
Rob Wegman, Princeton University
Albin Zak, University of Albany

University of Rochester

Faculty Associates

Daniel Beaumont, Religion and Classics
John Covach, Music Department and Eastman School of Music
Harold Danko, Eastman School of Music
John Fetter, Eastman School of Music
Margarita Simon Guillory, Religion and Classics
Josef Hanson, Music Department
Kim Kowalke, Music Department and Eastman School of Music
Jennifer Kyker, Music Department and Eastman School of Music
Bruce Pilato, Music Department
Jason Titus, Music Department

Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young

Pump It Up:

A 40th Anniversary Celebration of New Wave

Celebrating a style of music that arose in the late 1970s, the University of Rochester’s Institute for Popular Music features an evening of new wave rock as part of its “In Performance” concert series on February 17, 2018, in Strong Auditorium.

Read more


The University of Rochester offers thirty one courses in popular music, ranging from American Musical Theater to Sound Design.
Learn more >

IPM Director

John Covach Playing Guitar

John Covach
College Music Department and Eastman School of Music

A Message from the Director

Support the UR Institute of Popular Music. Learn how >