The Vandoren company was founded in 1905 by Eugène Van Doren – a clarinettist at the Paris Opera. Around this time it was standard for instrumentalists to make their own reeds, with varying degrees of success. Eugène’s reeds were especially good that he was urged to sell them by his peers.
It wasn’t long before Eugène was spending more time making reeds than playing clarinet, so to save time he designed and built a special reed-making machine that he operated from his dining room. The reeds were an immediate success so Eugène set up shop at 51 rue Lepic (later giving its name to a variety of reed).
Vandoren evolved into a family business. Eugène’s son Robert studied clarinet at the Paris conservatoire, after which he toured the US, drawing attention to his beautiful tone and his reeds. American musicians loved the Vandoren reed and so their success grew further.
Robert later took over management of the company and in 1935 moved the company to 56 rue Lepic (another name taken for a reed). From the new base Robert developed a mouthpiece – the 5RV – a mouthpiece which enjoys success even today!
Keeping it in the family, Robert’s son Bernard joined the company in 1967 and similarly developed a mouthpiece, the B45; played by an unimaginable amount of clarinettists.
The company has broadened its range over the years, offering a range for saxophone in addition to clarinet. These days Vandoren exports 90% of its production to more than 100 countries. One thing that hasn’t changed though; it’s still a family business, with the fourth generation Robert, joining the company in 2014.
Vandoren reeds are a trusted reed by al level of musician. They are so popular, there are fraudsters who try to sell imitation products which is why musicians should only buy Vandoren products from a bona fide retailer.
The range and global dominance of Vandoren mans that there are a huge amount of professional musicians using their products; from classical to jazz.
The blue box is a classic quality reed. And the B45 mouthpiece is a common choice when upgrading.