In 1985, a dedicated group of chamber music lovers on the Eastern Shore of Maryland's Chesapeake Bay, headed by the late Ralph Bloom, established the Eastern Shore Chamber Music Festival. Assisted by J. Lawrie Bloom and Marcy Rosen (Artistic Directors for the past 24 years) and Donald Buxton (Executive Director since the Festival's beginning), the Festival began with a single concert. Since then, it has grown to a two week event in early June, including eleven concerts in venues ranging from concert halls to waterside estates to churches and the Aspen Institute.
In 1997, the Festival established the concept of a satellite concert outside of its base in Talbot County. Satellite concerts are now held in Chestertown and Queenstown. In 2002, the organization established the Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition for young chamber ensembles from around the world. The third biennial Competition was held in March 2008.
Interlude concerts in the Spring and Fall between Festivals joined the programming mix in 2004, and an annual Spring Concert and Gala Dinner Event was added in 2005 for the organization's growing audience. YouthReach programming began in 2006 through the First Strings initiative, introducing elementary students to playing a string instrument. First Strings was augmented by the Presto! Program for more advanced students in 2008, as well as a continuation of the organization's annual Family Concert.
In July 2008, Eastern Shore Chamber Music Festival became Chesapeake Chamber Music, Inc., reflecting its growth from the roots of that single chamber music concert in 1985. In the 2009-2010 season, Chesapeake Chamber Music will celebrate its 25th year of bringing world-class chamber music to a growing audience of young and old on Maryland's Eastern Shore, while exporting something of the Chesapeake's uniqueness to chamber musicians worldwide who take part in its Festival and Competition.