Martina KIRCHHOF was born in Germersheim. She began her musical education at the age of 4, learning to play the recorder and the viol. Her talent was soon noticed in regular public performances and she was promoted as a soloist as well as playing in ensembles. At 14 she joined the instrumental ensemble for Ancient Music Bruchsal under Martin Schirrmeister with whom she undertook concert tours and television appearances. Martin Schirrmeister guided her as a viola da gamba soloist until she started her studies, bringing out her brilliant technique, musical expressiveness and inspired playing in many performances.
After taking Abitur, she started her studies at the Meistersinger konservatorium in Nürnberg under Hartwig Groth and afterwards at the Frankfurt Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst under Prof. Rainer Zipperling. Under Prof. Michael Schneider, she completed her chamber music studies with a wide spectrum of literature encompassing all styles from early baroque to preclassical. She continued her studies under Wieland Kuijken at the Royal Conservatory in the Hague.
During her studies she performed in concerts with various ensembles and singers at distinguished musical events such as the Arolser Baroque Festival, the Hohenloher Kultursommer, „Klang und Raum“ in Cloister Irsee, the Bruchsal Barocktagen and in an opera production at Claudio Monteverdi´s Poppea at the Berlin Philarmonie.
She is a permanent member of the ensemble „Luito Concertato“ under the direction of Lutz Kirchhof. Here she became known for her brilliant virtuosity and her warm, unusual colourful as well as her temperamentful and expressive playing.
Radio and television performances and CD productions complete her concert activities .
Born in Frankfurt am Main in 1953, Lutz Kirchhof began taking lute lessons as a young boy and at the age of twelve gave his first concert. He studied the lute fourteen years under Lothar Fuchs, a pupil of Walter Gerwig's, and, in 1972, won first prize in "Jugend musiziert", a competition for young musicians held annually in Germany.
In Frankfurt, whilst continuing his training on the lute, he read musicology, specialising in "Historical Lute Literature". He also developed his own playing technique, a technique oriented towards that used by the great lutenists of the sixteenth and seventeenth century, such as John Dowland and Sylvius Leopold Weiss. His final examination at the Frankfurt Musikhochschule, he was passed "summa cum laude".
From 1973 to 1980 he worked at the Frankfurt Studio für Alte Musik and, in 1976, founded his own lute consort which gave numerous concerts on radio and television. In 1980 he made his first gramophone recording featuring works for solo lute by Sylvius Leopold Weiss. Other recordings followed, including Bach's Lute Suites played in the original keys and with the original lute tunings.
As guest tutor he lectured on the lute at Frankfurt University's Musikwissenschaftliches Institut, as well as preparing private pupils for the examinations at both the Frankfurt Hochschule für Musik and the Royal College of Music in London. The insights he had gained from his teaching and concert-giving he compiled in a Tutor for the Renaissance and Baroque Lute which is founded upon a teaching method of his own.
His repertoire - including works from the present day - encompasses all the music written for the lute which he performs in his solo concerts. He also gives performances with singers such as Max van Egmond and Derek Lee Ragin, as well as with various solo instrumentalists.
The recitals he gave at the Vienna "Musiksommer 1988", at the Festspiele in Schwetzingen and at the Berlin "Horizonte-Festival" were outstandingly successful; he is also the only lutenist who is repeatedly invited to appear at the international Berlin "Gitarren-Festival".
In 1988 Lutz Kirchhof established the "Frankfurter Lautentage", an event which has since been renamed the "Internationale Lautentage" and now, in collaboration with a number of radio stations, takes place every year under his artistic direction. The Deutsche Welle broadcasted the 1992 event world wide and in 34 international languages. For his CD “World Festival of the Lute”, comprising parts of the "International Lute Festival”, Mr. Kirchhof received the Award of the German Record Critic (Deutscher Schallplattenpreis) in 1993.
In 1990 he formed a circle of lute researchers who, furnished with probably the world's largest collection of original lute music and other sources, is looking into how lute music was actually performed in the great periods of its heyday lute music, as well as into methods of playing and into the ways in which it was given musical form.
In 1994 he went to Australia and his tour performing and giving music classes in Adelaide, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney was a great success.
In 1995 he founded his ensemble LIUTO CONCERTATO, through which he presents the lute as a concert instrument in addition to solo-concerts.
In 1996, Mr. Kirchhof initiated the foundation of the German Association for Lute (Deutsche Lautengesellschaft), combined with the Festival of European Lute Music in the Lindenmuseum in Stuttgart.
In 1997 he released a CD-first-recording to celebrate the 400th birthday of the Princess Elisabeth of Hessen, of her madrigals and music from her lutebook with Sony-Classical.
In May 1997 he produced a program of Polish solo and consort music for the broadcasting station of Hesse at the Arolser Barock Festival. He arranged old traditional Polish songs using composition techniques of the 16 century.
In 1998 he succeeded in completely reconstructing historical playing techniques used by great masters such as John Dowland and Sylvius Leopold Weiss. Using this technique leads him to great virtuosity and a wide sound spectrum for expressive interpretation.
In 2000, celebrating 250 years Bach/Weiß, he founded the FESTIVAL OF THE LUTE in Dresden with international artists and speakers. This event was well received by the media and is repeated every year. It is the largest lute festival in the world.