SAX & THECITY
Sax is one of Dinant's most illustrious citizens and the city is studded with reminders of his inventions and of the man himself. A special itinerary allows you to discover the city's entertaining, musical tribute to its famous son.
Along the way you can see:
Rue Adolphe Sax, 37
Open all year, 7/7,
9am to 6pm
Pont Charles de Gaulle, Maison du
Tourisme & Espace Sax
Bandstand- Concert area
Princesse de Belgique
(Rue Grande 37)
The Anamorphoses Path
Rue Adolphe Sax
Mister Sax' Water Clock
Courtyard Of the City Hall
The Espace Sax
Sculpture ofFélix Roulin
The Adolphe Sax' Bench
Rue Adolphe Sax
by the sculptor Jean-Marie Mathot
Everyone is welcome, freely and at his or her own pace, to follow this Adolphe Sax itinerary. A leaflet entitled Sax and the City, containing a map of the city that shows the location of each of these sights, is available free of charge at the tourist office at 8 Quai Cadoux, Dinant (Tel.: 082 – 22 90 38) and at the Cultural Centre (37 Rue Grande, 5500 Dinant)..
Antoine-Joseph (known as Adolphe) Sax was born in Dinant on 6 November 1814. When he was a child, his father, who had by then moved to Brussels, showed him how to make woodwind and brass instruments. At a very early age he showed himself to have an inventive mind and exceptional musical ability. Throughout his life Adolphe Sax displayed energy, dynamism, determination, imagination, and brilliance in a career that saw him become an instrument-maker, a soloist, an acoustician, a composer, an orchestral conductor, a teacher, and a publisher. He perfectly embodied the spirit of the 19th century, all-conquering and confident in the future. In addition to making improvements to numerous instruments (including the clarinet, the bassoon, the timpani, and the pan pipes), he invented several instrument families: saxhorns, saxotrombas, saxtubas, and, of course, saxophones. The reforms he introduced to military bands led him to be regarded as the father of modern wind and brass bands. He also oversaw the first saxophone course at the Paris Conservatory.
The invention of the saxophone provoked considerable controversy, but also made Sax, who had moved to Paris, famous. The instrument, with its new timbre, won over many composers of the time and, somewhat later, became a great favourite of jazz musicians. Adolphe Sax had unquestionably revolutionised music, but he died destitute on 7 February 1894 in Paris, where he was buried in Montmartre cemetery. His son Adolphe-Edouard ran the family business until 1929, when the Adolphe Sax workshops on Rue Myrha in Paris were taken over by H. Selmer & Cie. Today, with 125 years of experience to its name, the Maison Selmer in Paris, special musical partner of the International Adolphe Sax Association, is still the exclusive property of the founder's family. Its headquarters are in the centre of Paris (in the République district), while manufacturing takes place at its factory in Mantes-la-Ville.
More about the subject:
Adolphe Sax, 1814-1894, Inventeur de génie, Jean-Pierre Rorive, Editions Racine. For sale at Dinant's Cultural Center (Rue Grande 37, 5500 Dinant) - costs 20€.
Dinant, Daughter of the Meuse, birthplace of Sax
Dinant is located in the heart of the province of Namur, in a rural district where tourism is of major importance. The province of Namur has a landscape of valleys, caves, nature reserves, watercourses, lakes (both natural and artificial), parks, and gardens.
From Givet to Namur, the upper Meuse valley is a place of wild beauty, with massive cliffs and vast expanses of woodland. Castles, abbeys, citadels, and churches bear witness to a long and turbulent past. These days the valley is protected by a Contrat de Rivière, an extensive programme of measures aimed at protecting, restoring, and promoting it by, for example, improving water quality and developing the economy and tourism in ways that respect the environment, both natural and human.
The district, whose famous children have included the painter Félicien Rops (1833-1898), has an active cultural life, with a number of dynamic festivals, institutions, and associations.
Dinant, a city on the Meuse that currently has some 13,000 residents, has played a prestigious role in history. It was a key centre for the production and trading of objects in cast brass and repoussé work, giving rise to the term dinanderie for brassware.
The painters Joachim Patenier (1485-1524), Henri Bles (1490-1550), and Antoine Wiertz (1806-1865) were born in this district, as was the inventor of the saxophone, Adolphe Sax (1814-1894).
Nestling in a hollow surrounded by green countryside, the city has one of the finest natural settings of the Meuse region. Overlooked by high limestone cliffs, it is located on a narrow tongue of land along the banks of the Meuse.
Among the most striking sites and attractions to be found in and around the city are the Collegiate Church, the Citadel, the Rocher Bayard rock, Leffe Abbey, the cave known as La Merveilleuse, boat trips on the Meuse, the old medieval town of Bouvignes with its Maison du Patrimoine Médiéval Mosan devoted to the region's medieval heritage, the Maison de la Pataphonie with its unique approach to music, the Furfooz Park and Natural Reserve, the descent of the Lesse by kayak…and, now, Mr Sax's House.
Local gastronomic specialities include the couque de Dinant, a highly decorative, very hard biscuit made from flour and honey, and the flamiche, a tart made with full-fat cheese and eggs, which is eaten hot, accompanied by a good Burgundy wine.
In memory of the brassware that contributed to its prosperity down the centuries and as a tribute to Adolphe Sax, the city has adopted the slogan "La Voix Cuivrée" (literally, "The Copper Voice" or “The Brass Voice”) – a play on words that refers to the different senses of the word "brass" and makes the point that Dinant has neither run out of breath nor of ideas.