BESSON – Tradition & excellence since 1837


In 1837, Gustave-Auguste Besson (1820-1874), an acoustic science genius, created the Besson brand in Paris. His new cornet revolutionized the concept and has marked minds and hearts even in our time.  His instruments became famous in Europe, and he has been accredited with over fifty inventions.

In 1858, following a long series of lawsuits with Adolphe Sax, Gustave-Auguste Besson left Paris to build a factory in London. Over the following years, Besson continued to manufacture in Paris and London, and also had warehouses for distribution in Brussels, Charleroi, Madrid and Barcelona.  Following Gustave-Auguste Besson’s death in 1874, the company changed its name, becoming Fontaine-Besson in 1880 in France, and Besson in England.

At the same time, another English manufacturer was becoming well-known: Henri (John) Distin, born in London in 1819.

Henry Distin and his new flugel horn were active in the development of brass bands in England.  He created a new line of instruments under his own name, and in 1872 the Distin brand was bought by Boosey (a music publisher since 1792, and a manufacturer of instruments since 1851). D.J. Blaikely, the inventor in 1878 of a automatically compensation tuning system for valves collaborated with Distin, and together they developed a new range and improved existing models.

In the 1930s in Paris, Strasser Marigaux and Lemaire, SML, all produced instruments for Besson with Aubertin. In 1957, Couesnon bought the French company Fontaine Besson.

In London, at the same time, Boosey & Co and Hawkes & Sons of England merged to create the group Boosey & Hawkes.

At the end of the nineteenth century (1894), the Besson factory of London employed 131 workers, producing 100 brass instruments a week, and no less than 10,000 musical ensembles appeared on their contact lists.  In 1925, Besson purchased Quilter, and Wheatstone & Co. in 1940.  In 1948, the group Boosey & Hawkes acquired the Besson London brand.

Always on the leading edge in design and manufacture, Besson became the brand of recognition for euphoniums, cornets, tenor horns, baritones and tubas. Extensive research enables the company to produce the best valve instruments available today, along with an innovative range of rotary valve instruments.

In 2003, Boosey & Hawkes separated from the cream of the crop in French wind instrument manufacturing, to join The Music Group. In 2006, at the initiative of its CEO, Paul Baronnat. BUFFET CRAMPON acquires two famous brass instrument brands, Antoine Courtois Paris (created in 1803) and Besson (created in 1837). The company became Groupe Buffet Crampon, with two subsidiaries, in the United States and Japan, and in November 2007, it appointed Antoine Beaussant as new Chief Executive Officer.

By joining the Buffet Crampon Group, Besson has restructured and relaunched its production of professional instruments in Germany and France. The Besson student instruments continue to be manufactured in the factory near Delhi, in India, under the supervision of specialists from the Buffet Crampon Group. A global leader in professional-level clarinets, Buffet Crampon applies all of its technical, acoustic, organizational and marketing talent, as well as its international distribution network, to the Besson brand.

Besson’s spirit of innovation and tradition continues to exist worldwide, and is today, as it was in 1837, the symbol of European know-how.

Besson brass instruments are esteemed by the most talented musicians all over the world, who seek above all “the real Besson sound”.*

* The Besson sound, the One and Only! »

About the Buffet Crampon Group:
Through its three brands, Buffet Crampon, Antoine Courtois and Besson, the Group is present in the woodwinds sector (clarinets, bass clarinets, oboes, bassoons, saxophones) and brass instruments (trumpets, cornets, flugelhorns, trombones, French horns, tenor horns, baritones, euphoniums, tubas, saxhorns). The BUFFET CRAMPON professional models are manufactured in the finest tradition of French instrument making, in the historical site in Mantes-la-Ville, in France. Having a worldwide distribution network that includes two subsidiaries, in the United States and Japan, the group’s turnover in 2007 was 59.6 million euros, 92% of which corresponds to exports.  This number represents an increase of approximately 5% over 2006.

send to a friend Print