Our history


In 1837, Gustave-Auguste Besson (1820-1874), a genius in acoustic science, created the Besson brand in Paris. His new cornet revolutionized the instrument and continues to influence ears, hearts and minds even today. His instruments became famous in Europe, and he has been accredited with over fifty inventions.


In 1858, following a long series of legal battles 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 compensating tuning system for valves, collaborated with Distin. Together they developed a new range of horns 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.
With cutting edge design and manufacture, Besson became the leading brand of 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.


By joining the Buffet Crampon Group in 2006, Besson 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.



Buffet Crampon Group became Buffet Group. Its new identity brings together all Group brands behind a single vision, namely to be the "global reference in wind instruments".


Buffet Group acquires B&S GmbH, the German family-controlled company founded 250 years ago and which is the leading German brass instrument manufacturer. B&S, Hans Hoyer, Melton Meinl Weston and J. Scherzer now join Buffet Group's prestigious brands.


Jérôme Perrod appointed CEO of Buffet Group.
Jérôme Perrod comments, “I am glad to join such a prestigious company whose history goes back several centuries and I look forward to being part of its future. Supported by the extraordinary know-how of its highly professional teams in France and Germany, Buffet Group has the foundation needed to accelerate its growth, both in Europe and globally”.