Fact Checked

Who Are Some Famous Flute Players?

Pablo Garcia
Pablo Garcia

In the music world there are many talented and famous flute players. Most share in common a long period of study and great devotion to their craft. Many well known performers studied with or were trained by other renowned flutists. Often, in addition to being performers, they are highly regarded music teachers and write some of their own compositions for the flute. Along with being popular among classical music fans, they are respected by their peers for their contributions to music.

Yossi Arnheim, a principal flutist for the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, was the head of the wind department at the Tel Aviv Mehta School of Music. He often plays solos with the Israel Philharmonic as well as other Israeli orchestras. He has performed internationally in the US and throughout Europe, as well as in Singapore and Brazil. He is especially known for his performances in chamber music. Arnheim founded Sheshbesh in 1997, an ensemble made up of Jewish and Arab musicians that perform classical Middle Eastern music.

Many renowned flutists are also music teachers who teach advanced students.
Many renowned flutists are also music teachers who teach advanced students.

Of French and Swiss decent, Emmanuel Pahud began studying the flute at the age of six. He was the principal flutist of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra for several years and has won many international music competitions. Pahud also taught flute at the Geneva Conservatoire. He gives frequent recitals in Europe, Japan, and the US. He has also performed with other famous flute players in internationally respected orchestras, including the Tokyo Symphony.

Jeanne Baxtresser is solo and principal flutist for the New York Philharmonic. She has also been a member of the Carnegie Melon University faculty and also taught at the New England Conservatory of Music. Her book “Orchestral Excerpts for the Flute” is very popular among other flutists and aspiring musicians. She has performed hundreds of concerts around the world as a soloist and as an orchestra member.

Iranian-born flutist Reza Najfar, who lives in Austria, began his musical studies in Tehran, Iran. In his early training, he studied with such famous flute players as Auréle Nicolet, Sir William Galloway, and Peter Lucas Graf. Najfar has performed in Europe, Japan, Mexico, and other venues. He is also professor for flute at the Tiroler Landeskonservatoriam in Innsbruck, Austria.

Welsh-born Emily Beynon is the principal flute for the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. She studied at the Royal College of Music under Margaret Ogonovsky, and in Paris with Alain Marion. She was elected a fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in London in 2002. Beynon has given performances with the Netherlands, Vienna, English, and Prague Chamber Orchestras. Considered as being among the famous flute players, she also is revered as a dedicated teacher and gives master classes to students around the world.

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Discussion Comments


@Grivusangel -- I thought the same thing! I'd add James Pellerite to the list, also. He had a long career in both performance and teaching, coming up with a now essential fingering guide for the flute. He also has done intensive studies on Native American flute technique and background.

He still does recitals, composed primarily of Native American songs, so any web search will turn up many hits for him, and even some video clips of performances.

Many people have probably not heard of Pellerite, but I suspect any flute player who has any repertoire whatsoever knows exactly who he is. He's certainly a well known name in the flute community.


What, no mention of James Galway? I didn't know a flute could be played like that until I heard him! I'd say more average people have heard of him than of most of the flutists mentioned here. They've seen him on public television if nothing else.

I have heard of the artists in this article, but I was very surprised that James Galway wasn't mentioned. He has played with the London Symphony and the Royal Philharmonic, among other orchestras. I have no idea how many albums he has made. I would have thought any list of famous flute players would have to include James Galway.

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    • Many renowned flutists are also music teachers who teach advanced students.
      By: evievee09
      Many renowned flutists are also music teachers who teach advanced students.