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Introducing Artist VIP



 J. Lawrie Bloom - Clarinetist and Bass Clarinetist in the Chicago Symphony; Renowned Soloist and Active Chamber Music Artist




                J. Lawrie Bloom has been heard in chamber, orchestral and concerto appearances on soprano, basset and bass clarinets. He began studying piano at the age of 4 and switched to clarinet at 9. He continued studies at the Columbus Boychoir School, and at that time came under the clarinet guidance of Roger McKinney. He later studied with Anthony Gigliotti.

               Founder and artistic co-director of the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival and the Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition, Bloom frequently performs on the Northwestern University Winter Chamber Festival and both the Chicago Symphony Orchestra chamber and MusicNOW series. During the 2011/12 season he presented two U.S. premieres of works of Thea Musgrave, first her Autumn Sonata, a bass clarinet concerto, with the CSO, with Suzanna Målkki conducting, then at the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival he performed her "mini clarinet concerto" Towards the Blue.

              Bloom is a founding member of the Chicago based chamber group the Civitas Ensemble. He has performed at the Ambler, Grand Teton, Ravinia, Skaneateles, Spoleto and Mostly Mozart festivals. He toured with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and he has collaborated with the Chester, Chicago Symphony and Mendelssohn string quartets; the Chicago Chamber Musicians; and members of the Ridge, Orion and Vermeer string quartets. He often has been heard live on WFMT and the Australian Broadcasting Company.

              In 1980, Sir Georg Solti invited Bloom to join the CSO on clarinet and solo bass clarinet. He previously held similar appointments with the Phoenix Symphony, the orchestra of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Vancouver Symphony and Cincinnati Symphony.

Bloom is a senior lecturer in clarinet at Northwestern University. He has presented master classes all over the world, and he also is an artist performer for clarinet makers Buffet Group USA and the reed company DaDarrio International.

               Noted for his incredible flexibility, J. Lawrie Bloom has been heard in recital, concerto, chamber and orchestral settings performing on the clarinet, bass clarinet, basset clarinet, basset horn, Eb clarinet and contra bass clarinet. 

Lawrie began clarinet studies at the age of 9, after 5 years of piano study.  In addition to the clarinet he was active as a singer in musicals, as a member of the Columbus Boychoir School, and in numerous choirs.  The son of an opera singer, he always felt that this vocal experience was integral to his development as a clarinet player.

             After clarinet studies throughout high school with Roger W. McKinney and at Temple University with Anthony M. Gigliotti, Lawrie was offered the position of Assistant Principal and Bass Clarinet with the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra, concurrently pursuing a Master of Music degree at Arizona State University.  In the fall of 1976 he joined the orchestra of the Lyric Opera of Chicago.  He held similar positions in the Vancouver and Cincinnati orchestras, before receiving an invitation from Sir Georg Solti to join the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in the fall of 1980.

            Lawrie is the founder of Artistic Co-Director of the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival, held each year in Easton, MD.  Chamber music is a major focus of his artistic energies, and he has been heard in concert with the CSO, Mendelssohn, Chester, and Lincoln string quartets, and members of the Vermeer and Orion quartets.  He has toured with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and performed at the Ambler, Teton, Skaneateles, Ravinia, Spoleto and Mostly Mozart festivals.  He performs with several chamber groups in Chicago as a member or guest.

           Greatly interested in new music Lawrie has performed with contemporary music groups since his student days, and has been part of numerous world or US premieres.  He is a member of the MusicNow ensemble in Chicago.

Lawrie has been a member of the faculty of the Beinen School of Music at Northwestern University since 1992, after many years at DePaul University and the American Conservatory of Music.  He presents numerous master classes throughout the world each year, and has been a member of the faculty of the Buffet Crampon Summer Academy.  His former students perform with major orchestras, chamber groups and many other venues throughout this country.




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Revised: January 12, 2019