Belgian musical instrument designer, best known for inventing the widely used saxophone (1840; patented 1846). Adolphe Sax (born Antoine Joseph Sax) was born in Dinant in Belgium on June 14, 1814, the son of Charles Joseph Sax, who himself was an instrument designer, who made several changes to the design of the French horn. At an early age Sax's father sent him to the Brussels Conservatory, where he studied flute and clarinet. He began to make his own instruments at an early age, entering two of his flutes and a clarinet into a competition at the age of fifteen. Sax subsequently studied those two instruments at the Royal School of Singing in Brussels. He left the school, Sax began to experiment with new instrument designs, while his father continued to produce conventional instruments to bring money into the household. Sax's most important invention was an improvement of the bass clarinet design which he patented at the age of 20. In 1841, relocated permanently to paris and began work on a new set of instruments which were exhibited there in 1844. They were keyed bugles, and although he had not invented the instrument itself, his examples were so superior to those of his rivals that they became known as saxhorns (Tuba). They are today widely used in military bands and sometimes orchestras. Sax was also busy around this time inventing the instrument for which he is best known, the saxophone. The composer Hector Berlioz wrote approvingly of the instrument in 1842, but the instrument was not patented until 1846, after he has designed and exhibited a full range of saxophones (from soprano to bass). Those instruments made Sax's reputation, and secured him a job teaching at the Paris Conservatoire in 1857. Sax continued to make instruments later in life, as well as presiding over a new saxophone class at the school. Adolphe Sax died in Paris on July 2, 1894 and was interred in the Cimetie`re de Montmartre.
Bio by: Curtis Jackson