Francisco Gonzalez was born in Mexico City to a father who was both violinist with the National Opera Company of Mexico and luthier. While still in the womb, he would have heard his father play the violin, an instrument which even to this day commands his love and admiration.
While taking his first steps, he played the violin and took the pieces of wood and the tools that were around him and made his first constructions there on the ground. From childhood, the world of sound, music and musical instruments formed part of his interests and infant games. That musical sensibility led Gonzalez to music and his anxious fingers to study the piano, an instrument that he abandoned quickly after discovering the violoncello. He had no doubt that it would be the violoncello to which he would devote himself to for the rest of his life.
Musicians would frequent his home where his father worked at repairing and crafting instruments. The worlds of music and of musical instruments were Francisco’s world then, even as they are today. Under his father’s guidance, Francisco found himself repairing instruments, and by the age of 20, he had already built two violas and a violoncello.
Shortly afterwards, Francisco Gonzalez won a scholarship to study violin making in Cremona (Italy). Once there, where he studied the art of handcrafted instruments, he furthered his performance studies in cello with Marcal Cervera in Freiburg (Germany); and chose to do the course in bow-making. He qualified as Bow-Maker and worked for a time with Maestro Giovanni Lucchi, from whom he learned true artisanal skill and unrivalled quality. He maintained a close and constant bond until the Maestro’s passing in 2012.
In 1982, Francisco Gonzalez participated in the prestigious Triennale of Cremona (Italy) where he competed with bows for both violin and cello. In 1983, he moved to Madrid, Spain, to continue his studies at the Real Conservatorio Superior de Madrid (Superior Royal Conservatory of Madrid). While studying music, he began to work in repair, restoration and construction of bows.
Since then, Francisco Gonzalez has given master classes on the bow at the Casa Parramón in Barcelona (Spain) and numerous conferences at different Spanish conservatories. His interviews and articles have been published in the Diario de Soria, Doce Notas, and the Dia and in the magazine Crónicas de Cuenca. He has also participated in the First Iberio-Franco Luthier Congress in Madrid with a bow quartet in 2002, which guaranteed his admission as a member of the ENTENTE INTERNATIONALE DES MAITRES LUTHIERS ET ARCHETIERS D’ART (International Association of Master Luthiers and Bow Makers), becoming the second Spaniard admitted to the association in its more than 50 years of existence. Through that organization and various conferences, he has excellent relations with some of the world’s greatest bow makers and luthiers.
In addition to the conference “The bow: Just an instrument?” in Soria (Spain) in 1996, given in connection with the City of Soria Violin Competition, Francisco Gonzalez has given conferences on the bow and workshops on the construction and maintenance of stringed instruments and the bow at conservatories in Salamanca, La Rioja, and Avila, as well as in several universities and colleges and also a summer course in Sigüenza.
During the years of the Soria Violin Competition, the Gonzalez bow received top awards. At present, there is a Gonzalez violin bow, together with a viola bow, at the Instrumental Museum of the Superior Royal Conservatory of Music of Madrid, obtained by the conservatory in 1998. Of course, several Gonzalez bows can be found in other Spanish conservatories, played by numerous professionals and students of stringed instruments. The National Orchestra of Spain has 4 Gonzalez bows since 1998.
As an EXPERT in Spain, Francisco Gonzalez is constantly sought after to evaluate every kind of bow and to repair bows with incredible fractures. From 2007 to 2008, Francisco Gonzalez formed part of the commission of experts of the National Qualification Institute, under the General Management for Education, Professional Development and Education Innovation of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport (Spain) for the standardization of luthier, bow makers and guitar makers.
The fruit of years of experience and work, Francisco Gonzalez has received various awards:TRADITIONAL MADRILEAN ARTISAN (2004). Chamber of Commerce and the Municipal Council of Madrid.NATIONAL PRIZE FOR ARTISANRY (2007). Finalist award, Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism.
ARTISANAL ENTERPRISE OF MADRID (2007). Awarded the Artisanal Enterprise Letter of the Community of Madrid; listed among the Register of Artisans of the Community of Madrid.TRADITIONAL MADRILEAN ARTISAN (2014): Granted by the Community of Madrid, “Madrid Artisan Award– 2013”, traditional work.
Arcos Gonzalez sponsors or collaborates with the following musical entities: