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Born in Shanghai, Ma Rong-Di’s interest in bow making began during his adolescence, when he played violin with the local military symphony orchestra in 1973.  His bow broke and as no one was 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 four bows submitted to the 1996 12th Violin Society of America competition, arguably the most fiercely 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, many of which are 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.

Animated by his passion and the desire to pass on his bow-making knowledge, Ma Rong-Di started his own bow-making company, Maestro Archetier. Operating with the same spirit as the European bow makers of the 19th century, his idea is that practice makes perfect, and that the young talented makers he trains will one day become as good as him, or even surpass him. At Maestro Archetier, quality is more important than quantity, and Ma Rong-Di has most definitely contributed to a shift in bow making in China.

Ma Rong-Di was also very sensitive and understanding when we discussed our desire for the use of ivory and reptile skin to be banned in bow making. When we decided to create our line of animal-cruelty-free bows, he was delighted and embraced the idea, helping us to develop our ‘Sound Choice’ line of bows.

We regard Ma Rond-Di as one of the great bow makers of this century, as well as a friend, and are committed to helping him and his workers get recognition in all their endeavours.

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 do 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 easily feel that the bow is the extension of my right hand.
Ning Feng

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’.