Daniel Deffayet

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Daniel Deffayet (May 23, 1922 – December 27, 2002) was a French classical saxophonist. He was the professor of saxophone at the Conservatoire de Paris where he succeeded Marcel Mule after Mule's retirement in 1968. He held this position until 1988.[1]


Daniel Deffayet was born in Paris, France on May 23, 1922. He began studying solfege at age seven, violin at age eight, and saxophone at age twelve. Entranced by the warmth and beauty of the saxophone's tone quality, which he heard through the recordings of Marcel Mule in the 1930s, Deffayet began to study the instrument with Mule in 1938. When the class of saxophone was established in 1942, and Mule appointed the professor at the Conservatoire de Paris, Deffayet was a member. In the Spring of 1943, he won First Prize for Saxophone, First Named. He also graduated in Chamber Music (1944, J. Benvenuti's class), violin (1945, A. Tourret's class), and harmony (M. Durflé's class).

In October, 1940, Deffayet began replacing Mule for various engagements at the Opéra and Opéra-Comique. As an orchestral musician, Deffayet has performed under the direction of such famous conductors as Dorati, Kubelik, Boulez, Bernstein, Karajan, Maazel, Markevitch, Martinon, Monteux, Leinsdorf, Paray, Villa-Lobos, Fricsay, Cluytens, Munch, and Ozawa. From 1966 until his death in 1988, Herbert von Karajan called him to be his accredited saxophonist for important recordings and to play solos with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. He has also played regularly with several Parisian orchestras, including the Orchestre National, Opera, Philharmonique, and many others.

Deffayet began his teaching career in 1948, and was a professor at municipal Conservatories in Paris, the Ecole municipale de musique de Beauvais, and at the Conservatoire du Mans. For many years he taught beside Allard Mayor, who created the Conservatoire of the 10th arrondissement, the first of the municipal Conservatories in Paris. Tuition was free, to provide a larger access for students to music; some students have thus been able to enter the Conservatoire de Paris.

When Mule retired in 1968 after 25 years of teaching, Deffayet succeeded him and continued the spirit of the French saxophone school. He remained there over 20 years, and was appointed Honorary Professor of the Conservatoire de Paris.

In 1953, the year he debuted as a soloist, playing Ibert's Concertino da camera, he formed the Quatuor de saxophones Daniel Deffayet. The quartet performed numerous concerts in France, and important tours have taken the group to England, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, the United States, Japan, and Korea, until 1988, when the group disbanded.[2]


  • Ibert: Concertino da Camera (Epic)
  • Woodwind Music: Gallois-Montbrun, Glazunov (Musical Heritage Society)
  • Double Concerto (RTF-Barclay)
  • Debussy: Rapsodie (ERATO)
  • Daniel Deffayet, Alto Saxophone: Boutry, Gallois-Montbrun, Rueff (Crest)
  • George Bizet: L'Arlesienne Suites 1 & 2 (Deutsche Grammophon)
  • Works by Pierre Max Dubois, Challan, Planel (EMI)
  • Le Quatuor de Saxophones Deffayet Rueff, Tisné, Pascal (CBS Sony)
  • Quatuors de Saxophones: Desenclos, Pierné, Rivier, Schmitt (EMI)
  • L' Art suprême du Quatuor de Saxophones (CBS/Sony)
  • Piéces Classiques, Célébres: arr. by Marcel Mule (London)
  • Le Quatuor de Saxophones Deffayet: Glazunov, Feld, Schmitt (Crest)


  1. ^ "In Memoriam: Daniel Deffayet, an eminent successor," in Sax Mule & Co , Jean-Pierre Thiollet, H & D, Paris, 2004, p. 71-75
  2. ^ "Biografía - Daniel Deffayet Ingles.". Adolphesax. Retrieved 29 July 2012.