About François Louis, the inventor
François LOUIS, musical instrument maker, was born in Brussels Belgium in 1954. Using the experience he had acquired in the field of fluid mechanics during his five years of motorbike competition mechanic; he modified the original mouthpiece of his saxophone. His teacher, Bernard Loncheval, as well as many Belgian professionals such as Pietro Lacirignola, and later Willy Vandewalle, Steve Houben and others, are interested in the properties of this “souped-up” mouthpiece and ask him to modify their own pieces.
- In 1980 he builds his first wooden mouthpiece. He designs the architecture of a new saxophone mouthpiece chamber (inner cavity) and registers his first patent.
- In 1981 he meets New York saxophonists Billy Mitchell and Joe Lovano.
- In 1982 he establishes him self as repair-maker of woodwind instruments.
- In feb.1984, Joe Lovano records on Mel Lewis “20 Years at the Village Vanguard” playing his new hand-made boxwood François Louis mouthpiece.
- In 1985-86 he works on the conception of a metal tenor mouthpiece. He realises some resin’s prototypes and flies back to New York. There he meets players like David Liebman, Michael Brecker, Billy and Glen Drewes, Steve Slagle, Gary Smulian, Ralph Lalama, Dick Oats and shows them the results of his work. At the same period of time, he meets contemporary music French flautist Pierre-Yves Artaud, researcher at the French institute “Ircam”. He’s invited to present his work on the flute head-joint for a Jean-Pierre Rampal master class at Artaud’s conservatory in Boulogne-Billancourt (Paris).
- In 1987 he realizes mouldings of a short serie of a solid silver tenor sax mouthpiece. He registers a new patent about saxophone mouthpieces. Bob Berg acquires a solid silver François Louis mouthpiece.
- In 1989 he establishes a new workshop in Brussels, Rue Malibran (Joe Lovano and his wife Judi where part of the party!) That’s the period he meets new players all the time, including Emanuele Cisi, Tim Ries, Jorge Pardo, Andy Middleton, François Théberge, Tony Lakatos, Gary Keller and many others. He develops new tools and makes more and more mouthpieces for musicians all over the world.-United States, Japan, Russia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdoms, Finland, Swede, Denmark and Belgium of course.
- In 1994 he takes care of the repair service of an important music store in Brussels.
- In 1997-98 he teaches numerous master classes at: The Miami University, Sibelius Academy of Helsinki, Manhattan School of Music of New York, William Paterson College of New Jersey, in Turin Italy, at the “CMB” in Puurs Belgium, at the conservatorium of Brussels and, more recently, Antwerp, Leuven and Gent. He builds his new workshop outside of Brussels and develops and designs a new clarinet and saxophone mouthpiece ligature: “The Ultimate Ligature”.
It is during the year 1997 that a project for a creation by famous Belgian contemporary music composer Philippe Boesmans for saxophonist Fabrizio Cassol playing on a new FL instrument is imagined. He signs a contract with association “Brussels 2000” for the realisation of the first prototype of his new instrument in July 1999 and has worked on this project until the Paris creation in October 2002.
In 2003 FL realises the modelisation of the Aulochrome with the Designer-Engineer François Decorte. He also develops personal concepts for the design of a new reed for saxophones and clarinets.
photography © Jos Knaepen