Chamber Music Gala at Temple B’nai Israel to Honor J. Lawrie Bloom


Pictured is J. Lawrie Bloom, who will be honored as retiring Artistic Co-Director at this year’s Chesapeake Chamber Music Gala on June 9 at 4 p.m. at the Temple B’nai Israel in Easton.

On Sunday, June 9 at 4 p.m., Chesapeake Music will host its Chamber Music Festival Gala at Temple B’nai Israel in Easton. The Gala will honor J. Lawrie Bloom who is retiring after 34 year of service as Artistic Co-Director of the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival. The Gala will include a concert featuring the music of Mozart and Dvořák, a reception catered by Gourmet on the Bay, and a Silent Auction featuring an array of experiences on which to bid.

When clarinetist J. Lawrie Bloom and cellist Marcy Rosen met at a music festival in Pennsylvania in 1972, neither dreamed they would later collaborate as Artistic Co-Directors of one of the nation’s most prestigious chamber music festivals – Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival, held in June each year on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. This year’s Festival will be held June 4 through June 15 in Easton, Oxford and Cambridge, MD.

J. Lawrie Bloom currently plays clarinet and bass clarinet with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO), teaches at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music, and performs as clarinetist with the Civitas Ensemble.  Bloom helped found the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival in 1986 with his father, Ralph, who had retired to St. Michaels, MD from Princeton, NJ.  Ralph then approached Don Buxton to help launch the first concert as a trial balloon for a chamber music festival.  Bloom, who had just begun his career as a clarinetist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, hoped to find a way to visit his parents and get to perform as well.  He contacted his friend Marcy Rosen, who was a founding member of the Mendelssohn String Quartet and invited a few musicians from the quartet to come play with him. That first year, they did one public concert and one private concert, to fundraise for the next year’s event.

Bloom comments, “I am enormously grateful to the people who have made it possible that for 34 years the Festival has been presenting wonderful classical music concerts.  From my dad, who loved the idea enough to sign on as head of the first committee and run the business end of the first nine years, to Marcy, my friend, confidant and partner in the artistic creation of the Festival, to Don Buxton, who has led the details of the festival, raised money, cheer-led, and kept things going, there are so many who have worked to get us to this point.”

Don Buxton, Executive Director of Chesapeake Music, states that Bloom’s wisdom helped move Chesapeake Music from that one concert to an extraordinary Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival that continues to bring in the very best internationally-recognized artists to the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Catherine Cho, a violinist with the Festival for 19 years, has agreed to replace Bloom as the next Artistic Co-Director as the Festival begins to plan its 35th Anniversary in 2020.

The new Temple B’nai Israel in Easton will be the host of this year’s Chesapeake Chamber Music Gala, which will feature a concert, reception and silent auction.

The registration deadline for the Chesapeake Chamber Music Gala is June 1. To purchase tickets for the Gala or for concerts during this year’s Festival, visit or call 410 819-0380. This year’s Festival will include concerts featuring “Enchanted Musical Pairings” including harp and flute, as well as oboe and piano.

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