Born in Shanghai, Ma Rong-Di's interest in bow making stems from his teenage years, when he played violin with the local military symphony orchestra in 1973. His bow broke and with no one available to repair it, he decided to do it himself, birthing a passion that led him to produce his first violin bow in 1986.
Although self taught, he received guidance from Maestro Kuang-Xiang Chen, however Chen moved to Japan early on in Ma Rong-Di's career. Fuelled by talent and a relentless desire to learn, he continued to make bows alone, proceeding to obtain four certificates of merit for 4 bows submitted to the 1996 12th Violin Society of America competition, arguably the most fiercly competitive competition of its kind.
At the 2016 China International Violin and Bow Making Competition, Ma Rong-Di won silver medals for a violin bow and double bass bow, and a merit award from the German Violin Making Association. His daughter Suoyi Ma received the special award 'Meilleur Espoir Archetier' from the French Violin Making Association.
L-R: Zheng Quan (Chairman of the CIVMC Jury, Violin Making Master of China), Klaus Grünke (Bow Making Judge, German Master Bow Maker), Stephane Thomachot (Bow Making Judge, French Master Bow Maker), Suoyi Ma, Tim Baker (Bow Making Judge, British Master Bow Maker) and Ma Rong-Di (Gold Medals Winner of CIVMC 2013, Chinese Master Bow Maker.
Having made over 800 bows used by soloists and respected teachers all over the world, Ma Rong-Di remains a perpetual student. Through restoring hundreds of classic French bows and studying bow making literature, he has continued to refine his bow making. His bows have received acclaim from countless highly respected players, including the late Prof. Yao-Ji Lin and the world-famous Taiwanese-American violinist Cho-Jiang-Lin
Ma Rong-Di openly shares his knowledge with colleagues and young bow makers. A generous philanthropist, especially to young musicians, he regularly donates bows to the Universal Strings Society of America for use by talented young players. He has also donated two bows made from a wood alternative for display by the International Pernambuco Conservation Initiative (IPCI-USA). He is also a member of The China Violin Makers' Association and of The Universal Strings Society of America.
L-R Ma-Rong-Di, Cho-Liang-Lin
Cho-Liang-Lin plays the 1715 Titian Stradivarius and a Pajeot model bow made by Ma-Rong-Di.
"I have used the violin bow made by Mr. Ma Rong-Di for concerts all over the world for over 2 years now. Not only I find Mr. Ma's bow has the finest craftsmanship, it also has the most sensitive response to my hand. With Mr. Ma's bow, I can easily feel that the bow is the extension of my right hand."
Violinist Ning Feng won the 1st prize at the Paganini International Violin Competition held in Genoa in 2006. He graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in 2003. As the first student ever in the RAM's history to be given a perfect mark of 100% in his final exam, he was nominated ''Associate of the Royal Academy of Music''.