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J. Lawrie Bloom, Head Finalist Judge

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. He has been called a “super soloist…crisp, intense indeed” by the Chicago Tribune. Mr. Bloom has been with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra since 1980, when Sir George Solti invited him to join the orchestra in the position of clarinet and solo bass clarinet. In honor of his 40th season with the CSO, Maestro Riccardo Muti has commissioned Nicolas Bacri to create a bass clarinet concerto for Lawrie. The premiere performance took place February 20-23, 2020. Mr. Bloom is a senior lecturer in clarinet at the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University. He has presented master classes all over the world and he is also an artist performer and consultant for the Buffet Crampon Group, USA, maker of his clarinets. He has been a featured performer at numerous International Clarinet Association conferences. He frequently performs in the Northwestern University Winter Chamber Festival and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chamber and Music NOW series. Mr. Bloom has performed at Ambler, Grand Teton, Ravinia, Skaneateles, Spoleto, and New York’s Mostly Mozart festivals. He has 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. The Civitas Ensemble, of which Mr. Bloom is a founder and artistic director, performed in Prague in 2016 in a collaboration with the Gipsy Way Ensemble. This collaboration, supported by a generous grant from the MacArthur Foundation International Connections Fund, included an exchange of concerts and presentations in Prague and Chicago. The debut CD of this collaboration Alla Zingarese was released in 2018 by Cedille Records. Last year, Civitas continued its international collaborations with a Chinese program, presenting the work of Zhou Long, Bright Sheng and Yao Chen, and were joined by a pipa player. A CD will also be forthcoming.

Lithuanian pianist IEVA JOKUBAVICIUTE’S performances have earned her critical acclaim throughout the U.S. and Europe. Her ability to communicate the essential substance of a work has led critics to describe her as possessing “razor-sharp intelligence and wit” (Washington Post) and as “an artist of commanding technique, refined temperament and persuasive insight” (New York Times). In 2006, she was honored as a recipient of a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship. Ieva’s Alban Berg Tribute CD was released to critical acclaim in 2010. The New York Times described her as “an authoritative and compelling guide throughout this fascinating disc.” Her 2014 album Returning Paths: Solo Piano Works by Janáček and Suk was equally well received. She regularly gives solo recitals in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington DC. She made her debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival and has since performed with orchestras in Rio de Janeiro; Montevideo; and Washington, DC. Her piano trio, Trio Cavatina, won the 2009 Naumburg International Chamber Music Competition and made its Carnegie Hall debut in 2010. A much sought-after chamber musician and collaborator, notably with violinist Midori, Ieva has appeared on major stages around the world, such as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and London’s Wigmore Hall. She regularly appears at music festivals in the US and abroad, including Marlboro, Ravinia, Bard, Caramoor, Chesapeake Music, and Prussia Cove (England). A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and the Mannes College of Music, she is currently Assistant Professor, Piano at the Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, Virginia.

Ieva Jokubaviciute, Finalist Judge

Michael Kannen, Finalist Judge

Cellist MICHAEL KANNEN has distinguished himself as a musician and educator of uncommon accomplishment who is comfortable in widely diverse musical situations and venues. He was a founding member of the Brentano String Quartet and for seven years performed with that group on concert stages around the world, on radio and television, and on recordings. During those years, the Brentano Quartet was awarded the first Cleveland Quartet Award, the Naumburg Chamber Music Award, a Royal Philharmonic Award and was the first participant in the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center II program. Mr. Kannen continues to perform chamber music around the country as a member of the Apollo Trio, on period instruments with the Houston-based group Context and at major music festivals such as Yellow Barn, Chamber Music Northwest, Portland Chamber Music Festival and the International Musicians Seminar in Prussia Cove, England. Mr. Kannen has collaborated with such artists as Jessye Norman, Phyllis Bryn-Julson, Sergiu Luca, Donald Weilerstein, Pamela Frank, Leon Fleisher, Mitsuko Uchida, Peter Frankl, Paula Robison, David Krakauer, Jörg Widmann, Steven Isserlis, and with jazz artists Michael Formanek and Uri Caine. His activities range from performances on period instruments to premieres of the music of our time. He has recorded for the CRI label. Mr. Kannen has served on the faculties of Dartmouth College and the Purchase College Conservatory and he is currently the Director of Chamber Music at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, where he holds the Sidney Friedberg Chair in Chamber Music.

Our thanks go out to our Artistic Advisors who helped us build a strong pool of applicants and our Preliminary Judges who evaluated the musical submissions in anonymous assessments and selected the five extraordinarily talented young ensembles to compete in this year’s live performance.


  • Catherine Cho, Violin
  • Adrian Morejon, Bassoon
  • Tara Helen O’Connor, Flute
  • Todd Phillips, Violin
  • Marcy Rosen, Cello
  • Diane Walsh, Piano


  • Steve Balderston
  • J. Lawrie Bloom
  • Natasha Brofsky
  • Catherine Cho
  • Glenn Dicterow
  • Karen Dreyfus
  • Miriam Fried
  • Ara Gregorian
  • Michael Kannen
  • Maria Lambros
  • Michael Maccaferri
  • Katherine Murdoch
  • Tara Helen O’Connor
  • Peggy Pearson
  • Danny Phillips
  • Todd Phillips
  • Marcy Rosen
  • David Shifrin
  • Scott St. John
  • Roger Tapping
  • Diane Walsh
  • Robert Yekovitch
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