A Brief History of Altus

Altus celebrated 40 years of manufacturing in 2021. The company was founded by Shuichi Tanaka - a gifted flautist, equally fascinated in the mechanics of the flute as well as its sound.

After five years training in the manufacturing of flutes at the Muramatsu company, followed by work in senior positions with Miyazawa and Takumi, Tanaka was hired as a flute consultant by respected musical instrument manufacturers KHS to create Taiwan’s first handmade flute facility.

“Altus” derived from the Latin, meaning ‘high, deep and noble’, set the tone for KHS and Tanaka’s aspirations. His extensive experience as a flute maker and his enthusiasm for the European flute manufacturing tradition (Böhm, Lot, Hammig etc.) helped in the development of the ALTUS flute. Tanaka‘s affable collaboration and friendship with the London virtuoso William Bennett led to the invention of the Bennett scale (the relationship of the toneholes to each other, the size of each hole, and the distance of the toneholes from the embouchure – all of which affect accurate intonation).

The first Altus flutes were built in Tanaka’s small workshop in Taiwan. Since then Altus flutes have gained enormous international recognition, and the increased demand enabled Tanaka to return to Japan creating his dream of his own workshop in the midst of the Japanese Alps in Azumino, near Matsumoto in 1990. Ever since then, the Altus flute manufacturing team has provided flautists all over the world with flutes, that represent technically perfect masterpieces which allow for the maximum possible musical expression.