J.Lawrie Bloom Retires as Artistic Co-Director of the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival After the 2019 Season
Catherine Cho Steps Up as Artistic Co-Director in 2020
CONTACT: Don Buxton 410 819-0380
or Amy Steward 410-829-0436
When clarinetist J. Lawrie Bloom and cellist Marcy Rosen met at a music festival in Pennsylvania in 1972, neither dreamed they would later collaborate for 34 years 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. Over the years, the Festival grew from a week-long event to two full weeks of concerts. Although the two musicians have worked side by side since the Festival’s beginnings, Bloom will retire this year as the Festival’s artistic co-director.
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. In honor of his 40th season with the CSO, Maestro Riccardo Muti has commissioned Nicolas Bacri to create a bass clarinet concerto for Bloom. The premiere performances will take place February 20-23, 2020.
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.”
Marcy Rosen, Artistic Co-Director, reflects, “As we come to the close of Lawrie’s final summer as artistic co-director, I am drawn to the memories of our humble beginnings and look back on years of steady growth and accomplishment. This accomplishment is shared with many people some of whom are gone and some who continue to pursue the musical vision that was started 34 years ago.”
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. He adds, “Telling our story through music and the quality of the musicians who come to our Festival have been the hallmark of what has made the Festival work.”
Catherine Cho, a violinist with the Festival for 19 years, has agreed to replace Bloom as the next Co-Artistic Director as the Festival begins to plan its 35th Anniversary in 2020. Rosen states, “Cathy will bring new ideas, new visions and an infusion of excitement to our programming and approach. I am so happy to have the opportunity to work together in this way!”
For further information about the 2019 Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival, to be held June 4 through June 15, 2019, at locations throughout the Mid Shore, visit chesapeakemusic.org 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.
#1: Pictured is clarinetist J. Lawrie Bloom, who is retiring as Artistic Co-Director of Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival.
#2: Pictured is cellist Marcy Rosen, current Artistic Co-Director of the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival.
#3: Pictured is violinist Catherine Cho who will become the Artistic Co-Director with Marcy Rosen of the 35th Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival following J. Lawrie Bloom’s retirement.