Adolphe Sax, master of wind instruments
Antoine Joseph Sax, known as Adolphe Sax, was born on 6 November 1814, the first of the 11 children of Charles Joseph Sax, an instrument-maker famous for producing brass and woodwind instruments, as well as violins and guitars and other instruments.
Young Adolphe therefore grew up and carried out his first experiments in a musical household. He studied at the Brussels Conservatory and began making instruments in his father's workshop. He inherited his father's inventive spirit and espoused his theories on the proportional relationship of the tube of wind instruments. In 1830, when he was just 15, he presented two flutes and an ivory clarinet at the Concours Industriel de Bruxelles. A few years later, in 1838, Adolphe Sax began his initial research into the creation of a new instrument that would make him famous, naming it after himself: the saxophone.
Despite the many conflicts and disagreements he had to face during his career, Adolphe Sax received a number of awards. He won several medals and diplomas at French industry exhibitions and, later, at world exhibitions. He also received the Légion d’Honneur, was given the title of music director to Napoleon III and became instrument-maker to the Emperor's military house. In 1857, he directed saxophone classes at the Paris Conservatory and in 1869 became naturalised as a French citizen. From 1875 to 1890, he was Director of Music at the Opera and the Comic Opera.