Almeida body tube engraving

Edward Almeida
Serial # 160; Boston; 1972; solid silver, soldered, gold springs, B footjoint; w/
Albert Cooper headjoint; London; 1975; silver; & Verne Q. Powell C footjoint; sl 600mm/635mm; 400g/435g (C/B-footjoint); .0125"h .013"b

When it came time for Verne Q. Powell to relinquish the reins and retire, he remembered when he had been Wm. S. Haynes' fair-haired shop foreman and was turned down when he tried to buy into the business.  In the early 1960's Powell sold his firm to four of his employees, among them his own protégé, Edward Almeida.

Wanting greater control over production, several years later Almeida set up his own shop and, assisted by his son Geoff, began making a very limited number of flutes exemplifying the quality and craftsmanship of the older Powell flutes.  Edward's passing in the early 1990's has retired this name from the list of fine flutes still being made. 

Albert Cooper embouchure

Albert Cooper engraving

Almeida G and trill
Almeida logo
Almeida back connector

Almeida LHAlmeida RHAlmeida thumbThis flute was purchased from Israel Borouchoff who was born and trained in Bulgaria, immigrated to Israel in 1949, came to study at the Julliard School of Music in the United States in 1955, went on to play solo flute with the St. Louis Symphony and the Chamber Symphony of Philadelphia, and eventually retired to Colorado as Professor Emeritus from Michigan State University.  He commissioned this flute from Edward Almeida in 1972.  He said of Almeida, "I always admired his meticulous attitude and modesty."  Unlike many premier flute makers, "He was the first one to admit that his headjoints could stand improvement, and was open to ideas in his own sweet and humble manner."  Of course many a flute player found the traditional headjoint cut Ed learned from Verne quite good enough.

While in London in 1975 Israel visited the shop of another legendary flutemaker, Albert K. Cooper, tried a dozen or so headjoints with the flute, and chose the one he liked best.  Heavily overcut (just look at the top right photo), the headjoint and flute combination produces a huge, resonant, centered sound with so little resistance you feel as though you could make trouser legs flap on the front row if your lungs were just a little bigger.  The original headjoint, alas, went to a student and has since been sold into oblivion.

Like the sound, even the holes in the perforated keys feel larger than normal, but this may be an illusion brought on by feeling the air vibrations with the fingertips or due to the shape of the surrounding key mechanism and its smooth, light action.

Almeida headjointMy gratitude to Morbiim for passing along his Almeida headjoint to me!  The match to this body is excellent and, thanks to the conservative Boston cut, the flute finally speaks with the appropriate accent.  (Heah in the deep South we have little use foah the lettah "Ah" aftah a vowel, eithah.)

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