Burkart-Phelan Inc. was founded in 1982 by Lillian Burkart and James Phelan, both of whom started out with the Verne Q Powell flute company in the mid-1970s with backgrounds in repair and manufacturing of flutes and piccolos. Having introduced their first flutes in the 1990s, today Burkart-Phelan offers a full line of professional level flutes and piccolos for the discriminating musician. Recently, in 2009 the Burkart-Phelan model names were refined as follows:
|Models Pre-2009||Models Post-2009|
|Burkart-Phelan flute||Burkart Professional flute|
|Burkart-Phelan piccolo||Lillian Burkart Professional piccolo|
|Lillian Burkart flute||Lillian Burkart Elite flute|
|Lillian Burkart piccolo||Lillian Burkart Elite piccolo|
|Global piccolo||Resona piccolo|
|Resona flute||Resona flute|
All currently manufactured Burkart flute models are handmade and feature the Burkart micro-Link™ pinless mechanism. Differences between the Professional and Elite models include drawn vs soldered toneholes and option availability. Each handcrafted flute headjoint is tested by the founder herself and is available in a wide selection of metals and two distinct embouchure shapes.
The Lillian Burkart piccolos, handmade in the USA, have been refined over decades and set the industry standard as played in many of the world’s top orchestras. Their aged, select woods, tooling of keys and mechanisms, and careful voicing provide unsurpassed tone and playability. Three styles of piccolo headjoints have been carefully developed to uniquely accommodate differences in the shape of the lips, use of the oral cavity, and direction of the airstream.
To capitalize on efficiencies in manufacturing, international collaborations and advancing engineering, the Global (now Resona) piccolo was introduced in 2004 and the Resona flute in 2008. The Resona flute and piccolo both include hadnmade headjoints from the Burkart factory in Massachusetts. Resona has received wide acclaim for delivering exceptional value and ease of play.
From the moment the first Burkart flute was introduced in 1996, Burkart flutes has led the way in design and material innovation. In addition to crowning the instrument with an exclusive headjoint, every Burkart flute is crafted with the following features and techniques.
The Burkart Scale: James Phelan developed the scale that is the cornerstone of all Burkart flutes. The Burkart scale is mathematically derived and has eliminated many of the flaws and compromises found in the 20th-century flute. Evenness and stability of pitch are its hallmarks.
Tooled Keys & Arms: To play its best, a flute's pads must cover perfectly. With this end in mind, each Burkart key cup is cut from solid gold or silver, leaving a flat internal surface for pads. The cup perfectly centers the flute pad, delivering added stability to the padding system.
Burkart's micro-Link™ Mechanism: is a new way of connecting dependent keys of the flute. The key parts to this innovative architecture are the newly engineered micro-links which serve three very important functions - a miniature linkage connector, an angle positioner, and an adjustment rest. Improving upon prior pinless systems, Burkart's micro-Link™ mechanism eliminates the need for four bulky back connectors. The Burkart player will notice the immediate benefits of reduced weight. Spring tension (resistance) is equal and light between all keys. Further raising the bar, every Burkart flute is built with a solid 14K white gold rod to maximize the stiffness of the linkage and preserve the integrity of a precious metal mechanism. The sleek design of the micro-links allow Burkart to position the slim gold linkage very close to the main axle of axle of the keys, delivering responsive action. Delay between dependent keys is eliminated, and the mechanism delivers stable, secure, and evenly balanced response of keys for the right and left hand. The micro-Link™ Mechanism is built upon two traditional pivot mounted axles to ensure easy maintenance and adjustments. The simple elegance of Burkart's micro-Link™ Mechanism will enhance the technique of the Burkart player, delivering lightning fast key action. .
Burkart Tonal Voicing: The toneholes of each Burkart flute or piccolo are tuned with the Lillian Burkart system of voicing. Just as the pipes of the organ are custom tuned, so too are the flute, piccolo and headjoint finessed as they near completion. The final touch under the master's hand gives the Burkart flute its even, balanced tone in all registers.
Gold Solders: Proprietary high-karat gold solders with lower melting temperatures join the tone holes and embouchure joints to the body in all Elite model silver, gold and platinum flutes. These noble metal solders join the flute parts more effectively than soft solders and will not deteriorate over time.
Stainless Steel Rods: All Burkart flutes are built using three different types of specially alloyed stainless steel rods. These rods resist the flexing, distortion and corrosion of carbon steels used previously in piccolo and flute making. The system reduces friction and gives the player more hours of maintenance-free play.
Super Silent System: Sleek, black, felted-foam bumpers regulate and quiet the key action. The Burkart finishing staff attends to every detail, delivering silent, accurate key action. These technicians are all capable flutists, so every flute is given hours of play before it is sent to the owner who commissioned it.
Expert Hand Assembly: While the greater precision in the pieces that our technology guarantees is important, expert human assembly is still the hallmark of the Burkart flute.