Looking Back: Lawrie Bloom and 34 Years of the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival


One of the Mid-Shore’s best examples of having good luck was the serendipitous events that caused the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival to be created thirty-four years ago. And it begins with a Navy engineer with a love of sailing who decides to buy a summer home in St. Michaels in 1985.

There is nothing particularly noteworthy here except for the fact that Ralph Bloom, the new homebuyer, had a son who was a classical musician who happened to be affiliated with some of the best symphony orchestras in North America. And when he discovered that his family had a new home in St. Michaels, the first idea that popped into his head was how Talbot County would make a wonderful venue for a new chamber music festival. That musician was J. Lawrie Bloom, and in the thirty-four years since that moment took place, he and his friend and co-founder, Marcy Rosen, have built one of the most prestigious summer music programs of its type in the United States.

Now, after years of commuting from Chicago, where he is the bass clarinetist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and a professor of music at Northwestern University, Bloom has decided to step down from his role as the artistic co-director of the Chamber Music Festival this season and, to his great joy, will be replaced by violinist Catherine Cho, who will join Marcy Rosen in running the music program each year.

The Spy thought it was a good time to talk to Lawrie about the early beginnings of the festival and how it grew not only to be a first-class musical event but eventually became Chesapeake Music, which now sponsors its own jazz festival, a children program called First Strings, and the International Chesapeake Music Competition.

This video is approximately eight minutes in length. For more information about the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival and Chesapeake Music please go here




About Dave Wheelan

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