Laurence Beckhardt


On the recommendation of Toots Mondello, who was no longer taking new students, Larry began alto saxophone lessons in the mid 1970s with Ray Repkay, an elderly pit orchestra musician who carried a nearly complete wind section in paper shopping bags (he stored his baritone sax at the same Eighth Avenue pawn shop where Larry bought his first horn). Shortly after the 1977 NYC blackout and spasm of looting, Larry bought an unusually inexpensive pro clarinet on consignment from R&L Woodwinds in the Brill Building in Times Square and began his clarinet studies. He would have started on flute had Ray not died in 1978. Larry continued clarinet lessons with Irving Neidich in Washington Heights and later for a year with Tom Ridenour in Middletown, Connecticut. That’s about it.

Larry has been privileged to be welcomed into the SOB family since it first began performing with a wind section and briefly held the position “Winds Coordinator”. He has performed with numerous other members of the rich NYC community orchestra scene, including: Amore Opera, New York Repertory Orchestra, Park Avenue Chamber Symphony, 92nd Street Y Orchestra, Borough of Manhattan Community College Orchestra, Pocket Opera of NY – basically, anyone that will have him. He is a co-founder of the occasional wind ensemble Hellgate Harmonie.