Professional Custom Flute Maker
Greetings! Welcome to my place!
Let me take a minute for an introduction. While I was studying flute performance with James Pappoutsakis at the New England Conservatory in Boston, I found a job apprenticing with Powell Flutes – the best in the business. Every day I learned something new, and I became skilled in the art of flute making. My lessons with “Mr. P” as we called him, made me aware of his concept of sound and tone. My lessons at Powell Flutes made me aware of the mechanical aspects of the art of flute making. My greatest ambition was to build custom handmade professional flutes under my own name.
It was just like going to college to work under such people as Ed Almeida, Bick Brannen, and Dick Jerome. During that period they trained Fredrich Von Huene, Jack Goosman, Charlie Roberts, Gene Sagerman, and myself, all of whom went on to establish new custom workshops. We shared an admiration for Mr. Powell and for the new owners. We were the class of the 60’s, who followed Verne Powell’s dedication to the art of making great flutes and playing the great music of the modern flute.
One day I met William Bennett backstage at Symphony Hall, and he showed me his Cooper flute. When I played it, I could hear that the intonation was nearly perfect. ‘Wibb’ Bennett invited me to visit him in London, and he introduced me to Albert Cooper. They gave me their detailed designs for perfect intonation. Immediately, I started working on my first flute based on the so-called Cooper Scale, and I sold it to Wibb in 1972. That was the first Cooper scale flute made in America, which has since become the standard for all modern flute makers. The introduction of the Cooper scale was innovative at the time, and it has made a lasting change in fine flute making.
I think that tradition is a quality that’s essential to the Arts, as it enables us to pass down our love of beauty from one generation to the next. We value the fine arts, because the ideals they represent have been distilled and refined for generations. I see fine instrument making as an important servant to music making. The custom handmade flute is similar to the artists’ brush on the concert stage. The dedicated ‘luthier’ is the back stage performer who welds the highest standards of craftsmanship to musicianship.
To that end I formed The Vermont Guild of Flute Making, which is a non-profit school for apprenticeship training in flutemaking and repair. My workshop occasionally becomes a one room school house for student apprentices, who want to learn the skills from a master.
I had lived in Boston for 10 years, and I longed for the country life, because the city was dirty, dangerous, and difficult. In 1976 I moved to southern Vermont and established a new life. Soon I met and married Marcie Parmly, and we moved north to be closer to her family. We’re now happily settled in to the Parmlys’ homestead in Richmond with an extended family, and our five children are all busy following their own dreams. There are over 180 handmade Landell flutes in silver and gold, and one prototype flute in titanium. Innovation has been my hallmark. Hard work has been the means.
Rural Vermont is known for its natural beauty, independent spirit, and “Yankee” ingenuity. The environment is clean, inviting, even challenging in a way that inspires the creative imagination. Traditional elements in each small community form a lifestyle that encourages good health and friendship among people, which are passed from one generation to the next.
I’ve found this combination of beauty and harmony to be inspiring and satisfying. I’d welcome you to come and see for yourself. Why don’t you plan to visit us?