Alan Weiss is an acclaimed flutist with extensive international experience as a performer, teacher, and flute historian. He is the co-owner of VintageFluteShop.com. Please visit www.alanweissflute.com.
You were an important part of Haynes for many years. What are you doing now?
Well, I had a successful, diverse career long before that; so now I am able to spend time doing what I really love! As the co-owner of VintageFluteShop.com, I specialize in selling, consigning, and purchasing vintage flutes, antique flutes, and pre-owned modern flutes. I am in partnership with the outstanding flute headjoint and case maker, and Master flute restorer David Chu. He is a professional flutist, teacher, and graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music. David trained with the renowned flute restorer Robert Gilchrist and worked for three Boston flute companies where he perfected his art. He has over 30 years of experience with antique French and American flutes, knows their strengths, and has a unique ability to solve any delicate padding, mechanic, or acoustic issues. David Chu has restored a number of important flutes belonging to Philippe Gaubert, Jean-Pierre Rampal, William Kincaid, and Elaine Shaffer as well as a number of today’s major orchestra players and college teachers.
The combination of my experience as an international performer, teacher, flute historian, and expert knowledge of quality artist flutes (see http://www.alanweissflute.com, and David’s distinguished career as flute maker and restorer, we provide flutists the opportunity to obtain the best flutes at the best prices. We differ from our competitors in that we do not accept every instrument offered to us. We highly screen flutes for playability and condition.
I have advised many of the world’s best flutists and teachers (and their students) in selecting the optimal instrument to complement their flute voice and style. I know the difference between a mediocre flute/headjoint versus a great one!
Our inventory contains wonderful instruments suitable for performers, students, teachers, and collectors. Some of these flutes have been played in major orchestras, while others have historic significance. We have sold flutes owned and played by important flutists, e.g., Jean-Pierre Rampal, Joseph Rampal, John Wummer.
What are your days like during these times?
I have been practicing quite a bit as usual! I made it my project to expand my repertoire, learn pieces I have been meaning to master, and never had the time. I constantly strive to improve my musicianship by working on the literature of Bach, Mozart, great French works, and of course Taffanel-Gaubert and Moyse exercises. My wife, Ann Rosandich, is a first-rate oboist and pianist so we also rehearse daily.
David Chu and I have been growing our VintageFluteShop.com through direct contacts and social media. If you visit our web site, you will see not only the unique flutes available but articles, blogs, as well as endorsements from a number of the world’s outstanding and well-known flutists.
One of the favorite aspects of my job is playing and testing flutes made by the greatest makers. The excitement of trying flutes makes up for not being to perform regularly. It is thrilling to match a flute to a player. I make recordings of these flutes for prospective buyers. The hardest part is not keeping them all of myself!
I have received a number of international offers for teaching masterclasses and performing, and those have been postponed until 2022 or when it is safe to travel.
As a former flute professor at Boston University for many years, I taught a number of very successful students including Valerie Coleman and Guoliang Han. Time permitting, I am happy to offer video lessons to advanced flutists.
How has your business changed in the last 7 months?
We are seeing growing interest in our business. The timing is right for VintageFluteShop.com. Flutists and their families may be on a limited budget. A new handmade flute can be prohibitively expensive for many flute players. David and I offer flutes that are “better than new” at a fraction of the price!
Flutists of all levels now have the choice between owning a new, mass-produced student flute made overseas and finished in the USA or a handcrafted flute built by professionals for professionals!
How do you see the future of your company?
Our company will continue to grow. When flutists experience a pre-owned modern or vintage flute, they are impressed with the tonal quantities and musical capabilities. We work directly with our customers, and this one-on-one relationship helps us select and recommend suitable instruments for each player.
How are you keeping yourself optimistic?
It is important to stay positive. My advice to flutists is to use this time to stay healthy and diligent. Use your extra time to practice more carefully, develop your skills, ear, and embouchure. Listen to fine flute playing as well as all chamber and orchestra music. Do not limit yourself to flute music; study the great string quartets, piano repertoire, etc. Remember that flute playing is an extension of the human voice, so learn to play with taste, style, and dignity. Always sing, never scream, and never exceed your own sonority!!!