J. Lawrie Bloom began studying piano at the age of four and switched to clarinet at nine. He studied 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 Competition, Bloom frequently performs on the Northwestern University Winter Chamber Festival and both CSO chamber and MusicNOW series. During the 2011/12 season he presented two U.S. premieres of works by Thea Musgrave, first Autumn Sonata, a bass clarinet concerto, with the CSO and Suzanna Målkki conducting, and then at the Chesapeake 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 collaborated with the Chester, CSO and Mendelssohn string quartets and members of the Ridge, Orion and Vermeer string quartets. He often performs 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, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Vancouver Symphony and Cincinnati Symphony.
Bloom is a senior lecturer at Northwestern University. He has presented master classes all over the world and is an artist performer for clarinet makers Buffet Group USA and the reed company RICO International.