One of the most renowned and innovative bow makers working today, Benoît Rolland currently crafts bows from his workshop in Watertown, Massachusetts. After becoming an accomplished violin soloist at the Paris Conservatory, his interest in bow making led him to enroll in the historical bow making school of Mirecourt in 1971, where he studied with Bernard Ouchard. In 1979, he was the youngest person in history to receive the "Best Artisan in France" award, and in 1983, received the title of Maitre Archetier d'Art, a rare honor bestowed to outstanding bow makers. In 2012, Rolland was the recipient of the Macarthur Foundation Fellowship "Genius Grant."
With the rise of his reputation throughout the 1980s, Rolland was commissioned to make bows for the most celebrated violinists, including Yehudi Menuhin, Arthur Grumiaux, Joseph Suk, Henryk Szeryng, and Stéphane Grappelli, among others. Rolland's research of new bow designs and alternative, environmentally sustainable bow making materials resulted in his award-winning "Spiccato" line of carbon fiber/Kevlar bows. Praised by string-playing luminaries such as Jean-Luc Ponty, Heinrich Schiff, and Christian Tetzlaff, these bows include Rolland's revolutionary concept of an adjustable tension mechanism built into the synthetic bow stick, allowing the player to adjust the cambre of the bow at will. Rolland's recent invention is the "Galliane" frog-a frog set at an ergonomic angle that allows the player to use the maximum amount of bow hair consistently from frog to tip.
Today, Rolland continues his artistry building bows as individual art pieces, and he has fulfilled commissions by many of today's top celebrities, including Yo-Yo Ma, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Miriam Fried, Christian Tetzlaff, Lynn Harrell, Kim Kashkashian, and Julia Fischer. He also tutors student bow makers, serves as a judge at bow making competitions, lectures at schools and conventions, and contributes articles to The Strad.