Bay Chamber Concerts was founded as a summer chamber music festival in 1961 by the late Andrew Wolf, pianist, and flutist Thomas Wolf. The two teenage brothers had summered in Rockport, Maine since early childhood. In organizing a concert series, they were following in the footsteps of famous musicians who had been associated with the Curtis Institute of Music summer music colony established by the great philanthropist Mary Louise Curtis in Rockport. From 1930 to 1945, illustrious musicians from all over the world came to the area to teach and to give concerts in a boat barn.
After the Curtis discontinued its summer program in 1945, many musicians continued to come to Rockport with their students. In an effort to revive the musical tradition, the Wolf brothers established Bay Chamber Concerts with the inspiration and financial assistance of Mrs. Mary Louise Curtis Zimbalist Bok, their grandmother (the violinist Lea Luboshutz) and their uncle (the opera impresario, Boris Goldovsky).
The early concerts, under the artistic direction of Thomas Wolf, were held in an Episcopal Church in Camden with the Wolfs often appearing in Sunday services as well. At the same time, the Wolf brothers were instrumental in establishing the Fox Island Concerts on Vinalhaven, an island off the mid-coast of Maine. In 1970, Bay Chamber Concerts assisted in the founding of Machias Bay Chamber Concerts in a town 30 miles from the Canadian border. Under Bay Chamber Concerts' auspices each summer, numerous concerts are presented in both locations as well as other Maine locations from time to time.
Andrew Wolf became Bay Chamber Concert's artistic director in 1963. During his tenure, the concerts were moved to the newly renovated Rockport Opera House effectively doubling the seating capacity to 400 and securing a venue with marvelous acoustics. In 1974, Bay Chamber Concerts became a year-round organization presenting a mix-genre musical series in the Rockport Opera House during the fall, winter and spring. Dance was added to this series in 2003, and Bay Chamber Concerts also assists in the production of a lecture series in conjunction with the Camden Public Library.