Contact Us the Conservatory

Faculty Profiles

Laura Flax


Clarinetist Laura Flax has been praised by the New York Times as “one of those musicians for whom everything is not only possible, but easy.” She is recognized as one of New York’s most distinguished and versatile players. Ms. Flax is currently Principal clarinetist with the New York City Opera Orchestra, the American Symphony Orchestra and the Bard Festival Orchestra. Formerly, a member of the San Francisco and San Diego Symphonies, Ms. Flax was been a frequent guest with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, The New York Philharmonic, St. Luke’s, Orpheus, and American Composers Orchestras. Her solo appearances include performances with the Jerusalem Symphony, Bard Festival Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra, and the Puerto Rico Symphony. A member of the Naumburg award winning Da Capo Chamber Players for twenty years, Ms Flax was involved in over 100 premieres including works by Joan Tower, Shulamit Ran, Philip Glass and Elliott Carter. She has given master classes and recitals throughout the country at institutions and chamber music societies including Eastman School of Music, Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society, University of Chicago, Weill Hall, and MIT. As a chamber artist, Ms. Flax has appeared regularly with Jaime Laredo and Friends series, Suzuki and Friends in Indianapolis, Da Camera of Houston, and with the Bard Music Festival. As an active proponent of new music Ms. Flax gave the NY Premiere of the Concerto for Clarinet, Violin, and Horn by Aarre Merikanto at the Bard Music Festival. She also gave the United States Premiere of Shulamit Ran’s Clarinet Concerto with the American Symphony and received this review “Ms. Flax’s performance was literally breathtaking. Her leaps from low to high, soft to loud, or from coy to terrified, were spellbinding, as was her virtuosity and musicianship.”.
Ms. Flax is on the faculty of the Bard College Conservatory and The Juilliard Pre-College. Her recording of Joan Tower’s Wings is available on the CRI label and music of Shulamit Ran on Bridge records. Ms. Flax’s twin daughters Amalie and Fanny are music performance majors at the Bard College Conservatory.

Solo and Orchestral Reviews:
“ Another high point of the concert was Joan Tower’s Wings, a graphic clarinet solo, dazzlingly played by
Laura Flax …” Andrew Porter, The New Yorker Magazine.

“Ms. Flax had ample opportunity to display her considerable prowess in modulating tonal color, spinning fluid lines, and regulating dynamics.“ Peter G. Davis, New York Times
“ Right from the first, at the opening performance of La Clemenza di Tito, the musical caliber was high. The important solos on clarinet and basset horn were beautifully phrased by Laura Flax.” Paul Griffiths, New York Times
“…and Laura Flax, the principal clarinetist, played brilliantly in exposed solos” Steve Smith, New York Times
“If by the way you hadn’t yet noticed the superb playing of the orchestra’s new principal clarinetist, Laura Flax, just about anything she played in the Serenade would have made a believer out of you.” John Willett, San Diego Magazine
“Laura Flax is one of the few classically trained clarinetists who can match the screechy brilliance of Benny Goodman’s original performance of Bartok’s Contrasts.”
Victor Landau, Poughkeepsie Journal
“….and Laura Flax, with her warmth and long line, made the glorious clarinet rhapsody a song of her own.” Paul Griffiths, New York Times
“A seventh important solo voice came from the orchestra: Laura Flax, who played the prominent clarinet and basset horn solos exquisitely.” Peter G. Davis, New York Magazine