The Official Website of Claude Monteux, Renown Flutist and Conductor

The Passing of a Legend

Claude Monteux 10/15/20 - 2/22/13. A lifetime symbolized by a dash. Thinking of you, as you continue to light the path for us.  ~Elizabeth Gaston

RIP to a wonderful man, teacher, conductor and flutist.  The last of the Golden Age who will be missed by all who studied with him and loved him.

You may visit him on Facebook here to write your condolences:

Contact Geri Rizzo at
if you
wish to add a memorial or memory of Claude.



Conducting School


Thursday, February 22nd, 2013

Dear Friends and Family, 

Claude Monteux breathed his last this morning, after living a complete life, at age 92.  He died peacefully near his son, in Sacramento, California.

Claude was born in the United States in 1920. The first years of his life were spent in Paris where he became an accomplished pianist. His mother, browsing through a Readers Digest, saw an advertisement for a new music program at Black Mountain College in North Carolina. It is there that he heard the flute solo from Brahms 4th for the first time, when his father, Pierre Monteux, toured with the Boston Symphony.  He was so moved by the solo, he decided to play the flute.

He studied flute exclusively with George Laurent, Principle Flute of the Boston Symphony. Claude’s flute is one the very first handmade Powells.

After working as a translator during WW2, Claude settled into the life of a working musician. He was the principal flute in many symphony orchestras, worked in NY shows, was the assistant conductor of the Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo, Conductor and Artistic Director of the Hudson Valley Symphony, soloed with the London Symphony and St. Martins in the Fields, taught at the New England Conservatory of Music and at San Diego State University, hosted summer flute retreats in Maine, and made some of the first recordings ever…on wax. Claude was the first person to bring Jean-Pierre Rampal to New York in 1963.

I met Claude on the Flute list, after he took me to task for my Top Ten Flutists list (the usual characters were absent). I explained that the players on my list are both exceptional players, and people who have a broader use for their talent –towards using their Art to do good things in the world. He invited me for coffee. After three years of intensely wonderful time spent with Claude, I have bumped him to the top of my list. Claude knew how to pull my playing together in magical ways, and asked only for my friendship in return. Always a teacher, he taught me to have the courage to sit with him near the very end. Like many of his dedicated students, I will keep his memory and teachings alive. 

No services will be held. He requests only that his remains be placed next to his wife Mary, in his beloved Maine.

Thoughtfully, Elizabeth Gaston--Abell flutes, San Francisco, CA 

IN TRIBUTE TO GREAT TEACHER:  These pages are dedicated to Claude Monteux, who was my teacher, mentor and friend.  A good teacher teaches you not only his main subject, but also about being a good person and giving something back to the world. He also doesn't just teach you "technique"... but the importance of playing with feeling, or in Claude's  own words as he conducted:  "Play with Love!"   I visited Claude a few years ago in San Diego, and he is still as handsome, charming and talented as ever! I know he'd love to hear about where you are and what you are doing, so if you are a former student or peer, please leave him a message in his guestbook below so he can read all about your progress in the music world or just life in general, and to say hello!  Please take the time to listen to the entire jukebox below.  Never have I heard another flutist make the flute "talk" as Claude could with so pure a tone and such nuance; and yet, he has never been recognized for his great talent as he should have been.  But that is my own personal observation... He gave me the gift of playing with feeling... Geri Rizzo

The Claude Monteux Flute Competition

The Claude Monteux Flute Competition takes place triennially in Indianapolis and offers substantial money prizes and performances to the winners.  See Indy Flute ( for more details!

Claude enjoyed a wonderful career as a flutist until age 62 when he became afflicted with dystonia in the worst place conceivable for a flutist, surrounding his mouth muscles..  He takes this in stride, however, and although you can no longer see his smile, one knows when he is smiling...

Most recently a resident of San Diego for many years where he taught privately and at SDSU, Claude has just relocated to Fremont, California.    At the young age of 90, Claude is still active and is currently auditioning for a limited number of advanced students in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Look for Claude at this year's National Flute Convention in Anaheim, California!  I know I will!  Happy Fluting....


The distinguished flautist and conductor, Claude Monteux, son of the late Pierre Monteux, was born in Brookline, Mass. In 1920, but studied in France till the age of 17.  As a flutist he has appeared throughout Europe and America, occasionally performing the dual role of soloist and conductor, and in command performance at the White House.  After three years as conductor of the Columbus (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra, he became permanent conductor and musical director of the Hudson Valley Philharmonic Society and in this capacity received the New York State Award in 1968 for his work in building the society’s orchestra to the highest professional standards.  In addition, Claude Monteux has guest-conducted many of Europe’s leading orchestras and has won wide respect as a teacher in both the United States and Canada.

As a flutist, Claude Monteux, one of the last great flutists of the Golden Era,  has played under the batons of Toscanini, Walter, Beecham, Stokowski, Casals, Stravinsky, and his father Pierre Monteux.  Mr. Monteux studied flute with Georges Laurent, then principal flutist of the Boston Symphony and conducting with his father, both privately and at the Monteux School for conductors. He has appeared in concert and in recording with orchestras throughout the world, including the London Symphony, the Royal Philharmonic, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the NBC Symphony, and the Metropolitan Opera orchestra.  In the '60's, he formed the Hudson Valley Philharmonic in Poughkeepsie, NY and a few years later, a youth orchestra, The Orchestra in Progress.

Claude Monteux has has recorded extensively on London, Phillips and other labels, including concerti by Mozart and Bach with the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields.

Flutist and teacher Mr. Monteux has served on the faculties of the New England Conservatory of Music, the Peabody Conservatory, Vassar College and Ohio State University.

On the podium he served as Music Director of the Columbus Symphony (1953-56) and the Hudson Valley Philharmonic (1959-75) which he founded.  He has guest-conducted orchestras in Berlin, Paris, Brussels, Norway and Holland.

Most recently he was affiliated with the SDSU School of Music and Dance, and would spend his summers in Maine, where he was Musical Advisor of the Pierre Monteux School, and coached chamber ensembles, working privately with conductors in their score studies.





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