Carnegie Hall


A native Long Islander, Heather’s path as a musician has taken her to stages across the world.

Heather O’Gara (b. 1988) is a clarinetist with an exciting and evolving international performance career. An active freelance professional in the NYC metro area, Heather has also performed in Canada, Belgium, and The Netherlands, most recently premiering new works for bass clarinet in Nova Scotia at the June 2023 LampNOW concert series. In August 2024, she will perform in Dublin, Ireland, at ClarinetFest 2024 with her duo, The Ember Winds Project.

A multi-clarinetist, Heather appears in symphony orchestras, wind ensembles, pit orchestras, recording studios, and as a solo artist. In November 2023, she performed the Mozart Clarinet Concerto with the West Islip Symphony Orchestra. She frequently appears on E-flat clarinet with the Staten Island Philharmonic and has performed on bass clarinet with the New York International Virtuosi Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, the Long Island Festival Orchestra, Island Symphony Orchestra, and Park Avenue Chamber Symphony. Along with clarinetist Valerie Nuzzolo, she is co-founder of the clarinet duo The Ember Winds Project. She can be heard on the 2022 recording of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony for Recursive Classics, and in the horror-musical podcast “Rocking Chair; or, Settlement” from Scantic River Productions. Her pit orchestra work has been featured at The Argyle Theater and Studio Theaters of Long Island, and in 2022 she toured with the Long Island Vegetable Orchestra, specializing in cucumber.

In Europe, Heather has appeared live on Belgian television and radio with the RTBF Musiq3 Festival Orchestra and has performed chamber music in Belgium and The Netherlands. She premiered solo and chamber works by contemporary composers, including the Belgian premiere of Barbara White’s “No Man’s Land,” and performed as principal clarinetist with the Royal Conservatory of Brussels Orchestra and as E-flat clarinetist with the Royal Conservatory of Brussels Wind Band.

Heather is a passionate music educator, and maintains a thriving private studio of students across Long Island. She has more than 15 years of teaching experience working with beginners through college students.

After graduating magna cum laude from Hofstra University with a Bachelor of Science in Music Education, Heather lived in Brussels, Belgium, where she studied at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels, finishing three diplomas in clarinet performance (BA, MA, postgraduate certificate) “with distinction.” Her primary teachers were Benjamin Dieltjens (principal clarinetist, Antwerp Symphony Orchestra), David Van Maele (E-flat clarinetist, The Royal Symphonic Band of the Belgian Guides), and Laurie Friedman-Adler (founder, Hevreh Ensemble).