Violin bow #1515 by Benoît Rolland
Driven by innovation, the work of master bowmaker Benoît Rolland is as highly regarded as the many soloists and professional musicians who play his bows. After training in Mirecourt with Bernard Ouchard, Mr. Rolland opened his first studio in Paris in 1976. Shortly thereafter, he was the recipient of the Meilluer Ouvrier de France (Best Artisan in France) and then the Archetier d’Art (Master of the Art of Bowmaking). Several other prestigious awards followed, including a MacArthur Fellowship most recently in 2012.
This past July, Strings Magazine featured an article to commemorate and document the making of Benoît Rolland’s 1,500th bow. A video about the making of this bow can be seen here.
Bows #1515 & #1500
Violin bow #1515, an exact copy of bow #1500, was gifted by Mr. Rolland to the Community MusicWorks foundation in Providence, RI – a community-based organization that uses music education as a vehicle to build lasting and meaningful relationships between children, families and professional musicians. Founded in 1997 by Sebastian Ruth with just 15 students, CMW is now entering their 20th season as a thriving organization with 13 resident musicians and over 150 students. CMW’s primary goal is to foster the relationship between music and social change through arts education for young people confronting oppression in their lives. Encouraging young people to see new possibilities for themselves through music empowers them to use music as a tool to overcome hardships and achieve those possibilities. At the heart of this foundation are instrument lessons in violin, viola and cello, and the resident musicians that teach them both individually and in group settings. Having these professional musicians on staff, who are all active performers, is the essence of CMW that ties together their mission of education, performance and community.
Celebrating the joy of music.
MusicWorks Collective – CMW’s ensemble in residence.
There are several programs available to students depending on their age range to remain active and engaged in their musical studies. Most recently in 2012, CMW launched a Daily Orchestra Program based on the internationally acclaimed model of El Sistema, Venezuela’s national network of after-school youth orchestras.
CMW students at one of their daily rehearsals.
In addition to educational programs, the foundation has an ensemble in residence – MusicWorks Collective. The ensemble seeks to animate performances with a sense of community-building and celebration of the human spirit and does so through performing a diverse repertoire in a variety of venues.
Community MusicWorks has not only grabbed the attention of their local community, but they have also received recognition from the White House. In 2010, First Lady Michelle Obama presented the prestigious award for National Arts and Humanities Youth Program to CMW’s Founder and Artistic Director Sebastian Ruth and CMW student Kirby Vasquez during a ceremony at the White House. That same year, Mr. Ruth was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. A video about the making of this bow can be seen here.
Listed as lot 158 in our October 2016 New York auction, all proceeds of this sale are for the benefit of CMW.
A FINE CONTEMPORARY FRENCH VIOLIN BOW BY BENOÎT ROLLAND
About bow #1515:
Made in 2015, this bow is “branded,” “Benoît Rolland” to both sides of the handle and “1515, 2015” to the bottom facet with an engraved signature adjacent to the stamp. The round stick is made of pernambuco wood with a gold head plate. The frog and button are mounted in 18k gold. The player’s side of the frog is ornamented with a gold inlay designed by Christine Arveil and features 4mm VS conflict free diamond eyes on both sides. The button in three-piece form has inlaid gold dots. The ebony originates from the island of Mauritus and was given to Benoît by Bernard Ouchard in 1971. Mr. Rolland harvested the mother of pearl used for the slide on the island of Brehat in 1983. The bow is sold with a certificate and letter by maker.
Process of inlaying the brush stroke design by hand.
Benoît Rolland sets one of the diamond eyes into the frog of #1515.
18K gold mounted underslide and stamping.
Design of the frog inlay by Christine Arveil.