Cooper, Albert Kendall
- Niall O’Loughlin
(b Hull, April 12, 1924; d London, Jan 25, 2011). English flute maker. An only child whose father played the flute, he learned to play the saxophone and clarinet in school, where he excelled at metalwork and woodwork. At the age of 14 he left school to become an apprentice under Thomas Hinde at Rudall Carte & Co in London, but was called for military service in 1942. In 1945 he returned to Rudall Carte, married, and moved to Clapham, where he lived for the rest of his life. In 1958 he established an independent flute-repair business in a small shed in his garden. Soon, he decided to make flutes instead. Working by empirical methods and with the help of Elmer Cole and William Bennett, he investigated afresh all the relevant measurements, for example hole sizes, their positions, length, bore size, and rise of keys, in order to establish optimum values for his instruments. The Cooper Scale was widely adopted. Doing virtually all his work by hand in his very simple workshop, he showed outstanding craftsmanship in many flutes of all sizes. These instruments, produced for James Galway, Christopher Taylor, Richard Taylor, Susan Milan, and other leading players, are notable for their beautiful, even tone and fine intonation. The full range of C flutes, piccolos, and alto and bass flutes are typically made of sterling silver, but Cooper built a few concert flutes in gold with elaborate engravings, notably those for James Galway. He published ...