Karla Flygare

Karla Flygare

Affiliate Artist, Flute and Piccolo

Karla Warnke Flygare’s career has spanned 30 years as Principal Flutist with the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra and the Auburn Symphony, with whom she has been a frequent soloist. She has toured California with the Seattle Symphony, and with the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra on their 2013 and 2016 New York tours. As Principal Flute, she can be heard on frequent recordings with the Auburn Symphony, as well as the 2015 release of the complete Nutcracker recording by the PNB Orchestra.

She has served as Principal Flute with the Northwest Chamber Orchestra, and can be heard on the orchestra’s 2006 CD release of works by Philip Glass. An active musician in Seattle, she has been on tour with the Seattle Symphony, and performed on recordings and television broadcasts. As a regular with the Seattle Opera, she has worked with conductors Asher Fisch, Robert Spano, Gary Wedow, and Gigi Sutej. Since winning the National Flute Association Chamber Music Competition with a performance at the New York City convention, she has continued to be active in chamber music, with appearances at Chamber Music San Juans (Friday Harbor), the Seattle Bumbershoot Festival, the Canadian International Expo Festival, and in 2008 at the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival in performances of Debussy’s Sonate for Flute, Viola and Harp and the Introduction and Allegro by Maurice Ravel. She has performed chamber music with Joseph Silverstein on the Northwest Chamber Orchestra Chamber Series, presented music by Icelandic composers on the Mostly Nordic Chamber Music Series, and premiered a work for Woodwind Quartet by Robert Hutchinson on the Auburn Symphony Chamber Series. As an advocate of new music she has worked with contemporary composers such as Ian Clarke, Henry Brant and Janice Giteck, performed Wild Angels of the Open Hills by Joseph Schwantner and played in contemporary operas including Mourning Becomes Electra by Marvin David Levy, Florencia in the Amazon by Daniel Catan, End of the Affair by Jake Heggie, and Satyagraha by Philip Glass.

Ms. Flygare has been called "one of the Northwest’s premiere musicians." (Journal American) The Seattle Post-Intelligencer stated she "carried off the difficult solo role with ease and flair" and the Tacoma News Tribune commended her "enthusiastic playing." "Flygare’s seductive tone and impressive musicality made one wish for more." (Journal American)

She has been heard in performances of the Brandenburg concerti with the Northwest Chamber Orchestra, the Chaminade Concertino and Kent Kennan’s Night Soliloquy with the UPS Wind Ensemble, and the Malcolm Arnold Concerto and Hindemith’s Concerto for Woodwinds and Harp with the UPS Symphony Orchestra. She has soloed with the Auburn Symphony in the Martin Concerto for Seven Instruments, Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp, and the G Major Flute Concerto. "Flygare spun out Mozart’s melodies with a sumptuous sense of line and seemingly endless reserves of breath." (Tacoma News Tribune)

A Seattle native, Ms. Flygare began her studies with Scott Goff, Principal Flute, Seattle Symphony, while in High School, and then did undergraduate work as a scholarship student at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she worked with Barbara Bernhard Breeden, Marc Lifschey, Laurette Goldberg, and noted composer John Adams. Her Master of Music (Flute Performance) degree was awarded from Northwestern University where she studied with Walfrid Kujala, former Principal Piccolo, Chicago Symphony. She has performed in masterclasses with renowned flutists Jean-Pierre Rampal, Julius Baker, Ranson Wilson and Samuel Baron.

A respected educator, Ms. Flygare holds the position of Affiliate Artist in Flute at the University of Puget Sound. Her students are regular winners of local and national competitions, and are sought after for their strong music skills. They have been accepted on flute and piccolo to many summer festivals and masterclasses including the Rome Festival Orchestra, Burgos Chamber Music Festival in Spain, Marrowstone Music Camp, Aria International Summer Academy, and Ithaca Flute Institute, as well as masterclasses with Amy Porter, Jill Felber, Bonita Boyd, Leone Buyse, Carol Wincenc, Ransom Wilson, Jim Walker, and Jeanne Baxtressor. Her flute and piccolo students regularly win the Concerto/Aria contest at the University of Puget Sound performing Griffes, Ibert, Vivaldi, Mozart, Hue and Perilhou (a premiere of the original orchestral score.) She has coached winners in many categories of the National Flute Association Competitions including Piccolo, High School and the collegiate Masterclass. Her students have received scholarships for graduate work at the University of Michigan, Hartt School of Music, Central Washington University, USC, the University of Oregon, UC Santa Barbara, the University of Colorado and Northwestern University.

An enthusiastic teacher, Ms. Flygare says, "I love teaching at the University of Puget Sound. The students are always bright and motivated. The ability to challenge them with good ensembles, masterclasses and frequent performing opportunities provides a rich and exciting environment for learning. The University has sponsored masterclasses with guest artists such as Jeanne Baxtressor (former Principal Flute, NY Philharmonic) and piccolo specialist Zart Eby. Regular term recitals, community job opportunities, small coached ensembles, flute ensembles, orchestra, wind ensemble and opera orchestra all provide numerous performing opportunities to students. Whether they are a performance major, music education or a double major in another field, opportunities such as playing for the opening of the International Glass Museum or the Tacoma Art Museum dedication gives them valuable performing experience."

Strongly committed to helping students achieve the skills and experience necessary for successful careers in music, Ms. Flygare brings a wide variety of experience to her studio. In addition to her orchestral and chamber music credits, her experience in theatre work and recording studio work (film and television) also assists in preparing well balanced students capable of a wide variety of disciplines, from chamber music to contemporary music, and orchestral playing to competitions and pedagogy.


Student Testimonials

"Karla Flygare is one of the most influential people I have had the pleasure of working with during my musical career. As someone interested in a variety of musical landscapes, Karla embraced my diverse background as a flutist, pianist, and vocalist when many former teachers discouraged such a broad scope. She encouraged me to complete my own piano reduction of David Maslanka’s Song Book for Flute and Wind Ensemble while an underclassman. While most teachers would have dismissed such an endeavor, Karla gave me the confidence to complete that daunting project. With Karla’s aid, I have created relationships with composers internationally, performed as a concerto soloist multiple times, premiered numerous works for flute, and earned a generous scholarship from the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University. I would not have been able to do ANY of this without Karla’s wisdom and guidance.

"Karla fostered a studio environment based in kindness, mutual respect, and encouragement. During every single studio class, no matter how tired I may have been, I always left feeling inspired and refreshed. She is persistent about celebrating individual strengths while simultaneously tending to our weaknesses. I am certain that I will bring many of Karla’s teaching philosophies into my future classrooms. Karla is also incredibly generous with her time, often scheduling additional lessons and/or coaching time outside of her contracted schedule. Her fierce commitment to her students never ceases to amaze me; I hope to one day become a mentor to others like Karla was to me. Karla transformed me as a musician and person, and I am forever indebted to her."

Drew Shipman
University of Puget Sound
B.M. Music Education ‘21
M.M. Music Education ‘23

"Karla Flygare’s ability to bring out the most extraordinarily qualities in each and every one of her students never ceases to amaze me. Reflecting upon my undergraduate experience at UPS, the countless hours of observing and participating in Karla’s flute studio provided me with the knowledge and experience to achieve goals I thought I could only dream of. I will always cherish her empowering spirit and as a mentor and friend, I know I can always trust her. Karla is consistent, organized, and is always holding her students accountable while incorporating valuable lessons along the way. Her unique teaching style caters towards individuals and unlocking their full potential though artistry and quality of sound.

"The opportunities I’ve encountered while working with Karla have changed my life. She allowed me to indulge in my love for contemporary music and provided me with a strong sense of courage as I explored repertoire beyond the beaten path. With the help of Karla, I’ve established relationships with composers around the world, been featured as a concert soloist, and earned a full tuition scholarship and TA position to attain my MM in Flute Performance at the University of Tennessee. I am eager to see what my career has in store for me, and I owe it all to those who’ve inspired me the most; Karla and her amazing students.

"The UPS flute studio is a stunning reflection of Karla’s incredible work ethic and is highly regarded as one of the most professional, skillful and inclusive studios in the School of Music. I am honored to have been a part of it and excited to carry her wisdom with me during my next adventure."

Chloé Upshaw
BM in Flute Performance, University of Puget Sound, 2019
MM in Flute Performance, Graduate Teaching Assistant, University of Tennessee

"I am currently Associate Principal Flutist of the Kansas City Symphony, Principal Flutist and Flute Faculty at Birch Creek Music Center, and Artistic Advisor, Board Member and Flutist with Summerfest Concerts. As I pursue these activities Karla is forever in my mind as one of the major contributors to my success as a professional musician. Even 15 years into my work with the KCS I still find myself regularly calling on concepts and strategies she originally brought to my attention; they range from the practical to the artful and invariably improve both my product and mindset. Karla is a gifted and natural teacher…I used to think she and I were simply a good match until I observed her giving a masterclass; it turns out she can bring out the best in any player.

"I felt so lucky embarking on my musical career that I had studied with Karla---she taught me not only how to practice, make music and take successful auditions, but also how to conduct my professional self to my best advantage. Somehow she did this while also encouraging me to remain true to myself, focusing on my gifts while quickly and effectively shoring up my weaknesses. Her patience, support and concern for my general welfare made it obvious that the goal was to help me become not just a successful flutist, but a successful human being as well.

"Karla’s understanding of and ability to teach every aspect of being a musician is remarkable—from practice strategies to managing nerves, from how to start your own private studio to professional orchestral etiquette, from creating a résumé to finding what is special about each piece of music. She has the tools, creativity, and heart to help students achieve their goals. Many teachers can teach the music but few can also teach the art of making a living as a performing artist and Karla is one of these few."

Shannon Finney, Associate Principal Flute, Kansas City Symphony

"Working with Karla was one of the best experiences of my college career. I’ve carried knowledge from her into my own ensemble work and performance practices as well as into my teaching career - not only with my instrumental students but also with my elementary music students! The way she reaches each student in a flute lesson or ensemble is an extraordinary mark of her passion for teaching and I now strive to do the same in my classroom."

Gina Lindberg, Elementary Music Teacher
BM in Music Education, University of Puget Sound, 2005
MA in Teaching, University of Puget Sound, 2006

"Karla Flygare is a dedicated, organized, and caring flute teacher. Her four year musical track prepares you in all aspects of music. In lessons we spend many hours understanding intonation, phrasing, rhythms, proper stage etiquette, and coping strategies for nervousness, to name a few examples. Most importantly however she is able to cater to each individual’s uniqueness and encourages these strengths. With the help of her instruction I was accepted into The University of California Santa Barbara’s master’s program and received a full scholarship and TA position with Jill Felber."

Beverly Brossman
BM in Flute Performance, University of Puget Sound, 2008
MM, University of California at Santa Barbara, 2010

"My flute studies with Karla Flygare during my undergraduate work at UPS were a major contributor to my growth as a musician. In fact, studying with her was a significant factor in my decision to transfer to UPS. She taught a well thought out curriculum which covered many styles of music. She also knew how to challenge players at any level. Karla provided many outside performing opportunities for her students, and put in the extra time to make sure they were successful. Even after I graduated, I enjoyed going back for extra lessons and more recently, took a chamber music course with her last summer. I currently teach band and continue to perform in groups, and I know that Karla’s excellent instruction has given me skills I carry with me in my career."

Anne Carpenter
BM in Music Education, University of Puget Sound, 1998
MA in Teaching, University of Puget Sound, 2000

"The education I received from Karla Flygare at the University of Puget Sound School of Music was invaluable to my training as a student artist. Because of the high artistic standards I was inspired to meet, I had the technical requirements and mental focus to achieve many goals. Thanks to Karla I received a full tuition fellowship to the University of Michigan School of Music, where, due to the solid foundation I received at UPS, I’ve gone on to win national competitions, play in Carnegie Hall, and attend the Aspen Music Festival and School, among other accomplishments. I really do believe that the University of Puget Sound is a special place; it afforded me the opportunity to develop a wonderful relationship with a world-class teacher and artist such as Karla, to take advantage of a multitude of performance opportunities, and to receive a world-class education in a beautiful setting. I am confident about my artistic future. Thank you, Karla!"

Erin McKibben
BM in Flute Performance, University of Puget Sound, 2007
MM in Flute Performance, University of Michigan, 2009

"I returned to my music studies as an adult student after a 15-year break. I received my BM in flute performance but was nervous about entering into a career as a freelance musician and teacher. I contacted Karla Flygare for more dedicated studies with my flute and to seek the guidance I needed to help build my career. Karla was wonderful. She was the perfect person for me to work with. She dedicated herself in assisting me in all my aspects as a musician. She helped me see my strengths and assisted me with my weaknesses. She was compassionate and dedicated to my growth and advancement as a musician and teacher. She supported me in all my endeavors I pursued, building my confidence along the way. She helped me see where my true talents lie and how I can develop in these areas to become a better musician and person. She assisted me in networking myself as a flutist. She guided me with several positive auditions for masterclasses, faculty positions, and orchestral seats. She even helped me to pursue my ultimate goal of acquiring my M.M. in flute performance and pedagogy, with a teaching assistantship during my two years at Central Washington University. I highly recommend Karla Flygare. Her love and compassion as a teacher and musician is wonderful. I send all my students who are serious about orchestral playing to Karla as I know she will help them just as she had helped me. It is because of Karla Flygare that I could pursue my dreams and made them a reality."

Celine-Marie Ferland
Freelance Musician and Studio Teacher
Founder of the St. Lucy Orphanage Flute School, Adigrat, Ethiopia
Flute Professor, Mekala University, Ethiopia

Contact Information

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