Albert Weatherly (1924-2009)
Albert Weatherly, longtime, esteemed member of the New York flute community and the American flute community at large, died of pneumonia on December 17, 2009 at the age of 85. He was famous not only for his excellent repair work and business practices but also as a mentor and friend to both his customers and his colleagues.
As Mara Goosman, of Butterfly Headjoints, says in an extended obituary that she is preparing for publication, Al Weatherly was a rather private person who much preferred to talk about the mechanical problems of the flute rather than reminisce about his life. However, information on both of these topics (including his Oklahoma youth, Juilliard years as a student of Georges Barrère, and apprenticeship under Verne Q. Powell) can be found in an April 2004 NYFC Newsletter interview (78kb PDF).
As Jayn Rosenfeld wrote in the NYFC Newsletter from October 2002: "A most important New Yorker–who can be said to have carried on, to have been sensitive, and creative at all points–is ALBERT WEATHERLY. The Flute Club's first concert this fall will be dedicated to a celebration of his fifty years (to date) as a New York flute repairman and dealer. Al undertook his flute apprenticeship with Verne Powell himself, spending seven years in Boston under Mr. Powell. He played professionally for a time in the Minneapolis Symphony and kept his chops all these years, so that he is quite virtuosic as he rattles around looking for tiny imperfections in a customer's flute. His clientele includes hundreds, if not thousands, of flutists from all over the world. Al has been the most careful and honest workman, a modest and loyal friend, an extraordinary resource for American and visiting flutists. He has loaned instruments to the needy, trusted anyone who needed trust, shown interest in young and beginning students as well as the great and famous, been sympathetic (but realistic) with all his customers. I have known Al and taken advantage of his expertise for 40 years! What a unique gift to have had a trustworthy friend and workman for so long. In my house he is known as the flute psychiatrist. When I dropped and destroyed a precious gold Sankyo two years ago, Al tried to repair the headjoint, tried to recycle some of the gold; in his dry calm way, he was infinitely sympathetic, though it must have hurt him too to be handling such a corpse. Let us all celebrate Albert Weatherly for his care and humor and excellence and constancy."
Readers interested in learning more about Al Weatherly or in sharing anecdotes of their own are invited to visit a "Remembering Albert Weatherly" webpage hosted by Anne Pollack. Readers interested in contacting Mara Goosman can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.