Some famous pieces written for the flute are "Concertino" by Cecile Chaminade, "Syrinx" by Claude Debussy, "Flute Sonata in D" by Sergei Prokofiev, and "Flute Concerto in D Major" by Mozart. These are generally considered the most well-known pieces written for the flute.
The flute is known for its light, ethereal sound and ability to play high octaves. The four pieces listed above are known to highlight these aspects.
Cecile Chaminade was among the first female composers of her time (the late 1800's). Her most well-known work, "Concertino" for flute solo, contrasts fast-paced runs and trills with slower, more celestial phrases.
Claude Debussy was a French composer also active in the late 1800's, and was most associated with impressionistic music. "Syrinx," one of his pieces for flute solo, exemplifies this impressionism. This piece is filled with atonal passages, and is notable because it allows the player to experiment with its tempo-- therefore, one will rarely hear two flautists play it in the same style.
Sergei Prokofiev was a Russian composer active in the early 20th century, known for composing pieces across many musical genres. His "Flute Sonata in D" is composed of four movements, and is known for its fluctuating tempos throughout.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, perhaps one of the most prolific composers in musical history, wrote his "Flute Concerto in D Major" in 1778. It is composed of three movements, and its orchestral accompaniment gives the piece a light and joyous tone.