From THE FLUTE MAGAZINE (JAPAN) January, March/April 2008, issue 92, p.30-31


Alan Weiss
Special Interview

Haynes is wonderful because playing the instrument is just like singing!

The American flute maker “Haynes,” which is known as Jean-Pierre Rampal’s favorite, has 120 years of history. Alan Weiss, who is the Artist-in-Residence for the Haynes Company, came to Japan last November for the first time. Mr. Weiss, who held the concert at “Haynes Day,” and also gave a lecture about the whole history of the company, is the right person to embody the Haynes Flute.

Responsibility for the Sound of Haynes

- What kind of a job is the “Artist-in-Residence,” which is the title of your position?

Alan Weiss (W): My main job is to sell and promote the instruments that are made by Haynes, and I am able to make the quality of Haynes widely known by giving performances inside and outside the country as well as through flute exhibits. We check the instruments not only to examine whether they play, but to make sure they can produce a wide variety of timbre with excellent response. We play test each one carefully. Now, Haynes produces about 150 instruments in a year and I play many of them. By knowing the characteristics of each instrument, I can recommend the best one when customers choose their flutes.

In addition, I listen to opinions from many flute players and tell them to the staff who produce the instruments. Because each instrument of Haynes is hand-made, Haynes can produce the best instrument for each player.

- A maker that has an exclusive contract with a professional player such as an orchestra player or a professor in a college of music, just like you, and that checks the instruments is rare, isn’t it?

W: Yes. I do not know any other maker like Haynes. Haynes has been inviting professional flutists to the company since the 1920’s. The first flutist was Georges Barrere, the second one was my teacher Philip Kaplan, and the third one is myself. I took over Mr. Kaplan’s position of professor at Boston University. Moreover, I also took over as the Artist-in-Residence at Haynes.

Alan Weiss
He studied under Phillip Kaplan, James Pappoutsakis, and Julius Baker. After having played in the Virginia Symphony Orchestra as solo flutist, he has been a member of the Boston Classical Orchestra since 1987. He first made European debut when he played with the Romania National Radio Symphony Orchestra in 1995, and has been actively involved internationally. He has given the first public performance and recording of modern music compositions notably Philip Glass. He is a former flute and chamber music professor of the faculty of music at Boston University for 10 years and produced a number of successful students. In recent years, he has offered master classes in many countries in Europe and Asia. He has been the Artist in Residence with the William S. Haynes Company since 2004.

Thursday, 11/29
Space Do (Tokyo, a store specializing in wind instruments)

Thursday, 11/29/2007, Space DO (Tokyo)

"HAYNES DAY" was held under the sponsorship of S.I.E., Inc., and
Maruichi-Shoten, which are Haynes Flute Import Agents. The hall for this event, called Space DO, has a high ceiling and can produce good acoustics for flute players.

In Part 1, Alan Weiss, who is the Artist-in-Residence for the William S. Haynes Company of Boston, Massachusetts, USA, gave a lecture about "The History of the Haynes Flute." He is a well-known flutist who has been a member of the Boston Classical Orchestra since 1987, and was a professor of flute and chamber music at the Boston University College of Arts.

He introduced an interesting story about the foundation of the Haynes Company. It was 1888 when the Haynes brothers were hired by the J.C. Haynes Company and started making flutes after they were requested by members of Boston Symphony as it was difficult to get them from Europe. The first instrument was wooden and was based on the model made by Boehm and Mendler from Germany. In 1900, an elder brother, William Haynes, became independent and established the current Haynes Company. The first production number by his independent proprietorship was No. 507. It is said that this is so because 506 flutes were produced before he established his own business. And it is also said that mainly 435-pitched wooden flutes were produced in the first twenty years. In 1918, when many musicians from Europe moved to Boston, German musicians favored wooden flutes; however, French musicians liked to play silver Louis Lot flutes, and they requested the development of the metal instruments after the Louis Lot model. Similarly, there were many interesting stories about the history of Haynes in this lecture.

In Part 2, Alan Weiss and Shigenori Kudo (who took lessons from J.-P. Rampal and deeply admired him) gave a performance using standard gold flutes and gold Rampal models made by the Haynes Company. Weiss used his own model with a 14K gold body,silver mechanism and B foot. Kudo played serial number 15 with a 14K body and B foot. First, J. S. Bach's "Trio Sonata in G Major," BWV 1039, was played with a massive sound by two flutes and piano, then Weiss played a solo, Robert Starer 's "Yizkor & Anima Aeterna" (the Japanese premiere). His gentle timbres fascinated the audience. In the third piece, Kudo gracefully played "Sonata," composed by Poulenc, using a serial number 12 with a 14K body and C foot. Kudo introduced this model, saying that it is made in the French style and is lighter in weight than the other gold flutes. Weiss played the fourth piece, which was "Undine Sonata," composed by Karl Reinecke. It was also very interesting to see the difference between the gentle tone, which Weiss produced, handling his instrument like a voice, and the tone produced by Kudo with two types of Rampal models. Therefore, overall, this event ultimately enlightened the audience with its enriching material.

Haynes, playing it is just like singing.

- How did you achieve your current title?

W: I have played Haynes’ instruments for a long time and also had sometimes taken part in the testing of the instruments. I was invited to join the company full-time by the current president, Mr. Ni Qian. Because Ni Qian studied to be a flutist and was studying music in Boston University, we knew each other.

- 150 flutes is quite a small number for a flute maker to produce in a year, isn’t it?

W: After Mr. Qian became a president, the company decided to improve the quality of the instruments. In order to set great value on the quality and produce good instruments, we reduced the number produced.

The Life which is Always with Haynes

- I heard you have been playing Haynes since before you had this job.

W: I have played Haynes since I was 18 years old. My current instrument is my fourth one. One of my instruments I received from Mr. Phillip Kaplan, who was a flutist in the Boston Symphony Orchestra. I have used my current instrument for more than 15 years, and it is the model with a 14K gold body and silver mechanism.

- Which part of the present instrument do you like?

W: This instrument is already a part of my body. I can feel as if I were singing when playing it. I like that aspect the best.

- By the way, would you tell me about “Rampal Model,” which has aroused considerable interest now?

W: The “Rampal Model” was made by copying the No. 47777 Haynes flute, which Rampal used. That original instrument is now owned by the Spanish flutist, Claudi Arimany. When I performed with Mr. Shigenori Kudo, he played a Rampal model. Mr. Kudo is a wonderful flutist with extraordinary talent. I really enjoyed performing together with him.

- In the future, are you planning to give a performance in Japan again?

W: I do not have a plan yet. However, now I love Japan after visiting this time, so I really want to come back. The Japanese audience accepted my performance very warmly, although it was the first time that they heard it. I want to perform in Japan again. And also, I want to have more delicious sushi again.

- I am looking forward to listening to a wonderful performance in Japan again. Thank you very much for today.

Translated by Rena Sawano
Edited by Dr. Joel C. Goldfield