Chesapeake Music brings renowned musicians to delight, engage and surprise today's audiences, and educate, inspire and develop tomorrow's.


Trio St. Bernard

2018 LERMAN GOLD PRIZE Winner (Tie)
Trio St. Bernard

Merz Trio

2019 LERMAN GOLD PRIZE Winner (Tie)
Merz Trio


The Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition is open to acoustic instrumental ensembles. Voice as an acoustic instrument is not allowed or accepted. The ensemble must consist of 3 to 5 members. Members must be engaged in study and/or performance and must be pursuing a career in music. On November 30, 2019 the average of the ages of all members of the ensemble shall be less than 30 years, 11 months, and 31 days. The ensemble may not have more than one piano.


This year, applications online are accepted in partnership with the leading arts application platform in the world. Ensembles select one of the members to serve as coordinator for the group. The designated coordinator initiates the application on line and submits his or her information as requested. There is a subsequent page to submit information on remaining ensemble members. A musical recording is then uploaded with the application and finally, the fee of $40 per member is collected. Please arrange for one credit card to pay total ensemble application fee. Technical support is available during the application process.

The required audio recording should consist of 30 minutes of music including at least 2 works or movements of works of contrasting style and character.  The recording should include music only and not reference or identify any of the ensemble members.  Complete instructions are contained in the application.

Applications open on September 1, 2019 and close on November 30, 2019.


The applications will be evaluated by a distinguished panel of preliminary judges to select the ensembles that will be invited to participate in a performance competition held before a live audience at the Avalon Theatre in Easton Maryland on April 4, 2020 with an assigned rehearsal time on the previous day. A panel of Finalist Judges will evaluate the performances and winners will be announced at the end of the evening.


Prizes will be announced at the conclusion of the performances.
The Lerman Gold Prize winner will be awarded the sum of $10,000 and the Silver Prize winner the sum of $5,000. Additional cash prizes may also be offered. The Gold Prize winner will also receive a concert appearance at the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival on June 5, 2020. Other concert appearances (with additional stipends) may also be awarded.

Prizes may be distributed, divided, or withheld at the discretion of Chesapeake Music. All prizes are conditioned upon full compliance by the ensemble and each of its members with the rules and requirements of the Competition.

Cash awards will be distributed upon completion of all obligations by winning ensembles.

Acceptance of the invitation to participate in the performance competition on April 4, 2020 shall constitute agreement by the ensemble and each of its members to the terms below:

  • The ensemble shall participate in the competition on April 4, 2020.
  • The ensemble shall attend a brunch on Sunday, April 5 where they will meet with judges for individual ensemble conversations.  They can also meet with various presenters in attendance.

  • The ensemble shall be available on Sunday, April 5, 2020 to offer one complete concert performance of approximately 60 minutes duration and render such performance, if requested.

  • If selected to perform at the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival, the ensemble shall:
    • offer such performance in June, 2020
    • be available in June, 2020 to offer additional performances at other concert series, if requested and for additional stipend.
  • In addition, the ensemble shall submit, within 10 days of the invitation to participate in the performance competition, a digital photograph and a brief biography of the ensemble and its members.
  • Chesapeake Music may, without condition or limitation, freely use such materials and any online audition recording submitted with the application and may record any performances at the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival or during the weekend of the Competition and shall have full rights of ownership in and use of such recorded performances.
  • Chesapeake Music may publish on its website a link to the ensemble’s official website.

The Competition provides complimentary housing for the ensembles at private homes in the Easton area.