L'atelier du hautbois officially began production in 1986 under the guidance of founders Gerard Fossati and Pascal Emery. Fossati is the youngest of the French oboe manufacturers, but quickly established itself an international presence. Seventy-five percent of all production is sold to international retailers and artists around the world recognize the company’s reputation.
Gérard Fossati and Pascal Emery met in 1974 while working for the oboe manufacturer Rigoutat. Mr. Fossati had been with the company for 8 years when Mr. Emery began his apprenticeship. Mr. Fossati worked as a finisher and Mr. Emery, a key worker. The two craftsmen desired to advance the design of the oboe’s mechanism. Their idea was to redesign the mechanism of the oboe and English horn so that is would be more responsive and comfortable under the fingers. Specifically, they felt that the action of the mechanism could be improved if the springs were strong without overly tight. The mechanism needed to move with the upmost efficiency and clarity. Mr. Fossati and Mr. Emery agreed that the instruments should be developed through a dialogue between the craftsmen and musicians.
Musicians from the orchestra of Radio France tested the first Fossati oboe prototype in 1984. Afterward, Michel Bénet (soloist of Orchestra de Paris) continued to develop and refine the oboe with Gérard Fossati. The goal has always been to craft superior mechanism to an oboe that is elegant in appearance and timbre.
In 2008, four company employees acquired L’atelier du hautbois, upon the retirement of Gerard Fossati.
Danièle Lefèvre began her time with the company as an accountant and executive assistant to Mr. Fossati. With her years of valuable experience with the particulars of the company, she now serves as the general manager.
It was a natural transition to have Stéphane Guillaume become the production manager after his many years as an instrument finisher and repairman. His expertise is also relied upon with the development of new additions to the Fossati catalog of instruments.
Upon the purchase of the company, Thierry Braun chose to keep his focus on his preferred task of managing the CNC machinery and the construction of the instrument bodies.
Pascal Emery, the co-founder of the L’atelier du hautbois, began his tenure with the company fabricating keys. Although Pascal still puts in his share of time in the workshop, his main responsibility today is customer and retailer relations.
Although the company had long been located in Montargis, the new owners secured a larger and more open facility in the nearby town of Amilly. This new location, 100km south of Paris, simplified the organization and flow of production. All production is completed in the new workshop. The bodies of the instruments are turned and drilled on the CNC machines and are fitted with the hand-shaped keys. The instruments then go through a thorough finishing progress and a final testing.
All of the instruments produced by L'atelier du hautbois are developed and tested in regular collaboration with the following artists: Michel Bénet (soloist of the Orchestra of Paris), Jean Marc Liet (oboe and English horn with the contemporary music ensemble 2E 2m) and Jean Christophe Gayot (former professor of the Music Conservatory of Lyon and principal oboe of the orchestra Philharmonique de Radio France).
Creating instruments that meet the needs of the musicians, whether they are a novice or a principle player, is our passion.