Lutz Kirchhof was born in Frankfurt am Main. Early in life, he received instruction in the Lute and began his concert activities at the age of 12. He completed a 10-year course of study in the Lute under Lothar Fuchs, a student of Walter Gerwig. In 1972, he won First Prize in the Germany wide “Jugend musiziert” Competition.
Alongside his training as a Lutenist, he studied musicology in Frankfurt. His emphasis was “Historic Lute Literature” He developed a unique playing technique that oriented itself to the technique of the great Lutenists of the 16th and 17th centuries. He compoleted his studies at the Musikhochschule in Frankfurt with honors.
From 1973 to 1980, Lutz Kirchhof worked in the Frankfurt Studio for Alte Musik. In 1976, he founded his own Consort. This ensemble appeared in countless concerts, radio and TV recordings.
His first commercial audio recording was produced in 1980 with the solo works of Sylvius Leopold Weiss. Further recordings followed. These include the Bach works for Lute in the original pitch and Lute tunings. As a guest lecturer, he also taught at the Musicological Institute of the University in Frankfurt.
Private studies led to an exam at the Hochschule für Musik in Frankfurt and at the Royal College of Music in London. The experiences of his teaching and of his concertizing were distilled into a School for the Renaissance and Baroque Lute, upon which Lutz Kirchhof has built his unique system of instruction.
His repertoire, including modern works, encompasses the entire Lute literature. He presents this body of repertoire in his solo concerts. In addition, he also appears with the singer Max van Egmond and Derek Lee Ragin and with various instrumental soloists. His appearances at the Wiener Musiksommer in 1988 and the Schwetzinger Festspiele and “Horizonte-Festival” in Berlin have brought him enormous success. He has been a frequent guest at the “International Guitar Festival” in Berlin.
In 1988, Lutz Kirchhof founded the Frankfurter Lautentage. In subsequent years, with him as Artistic Director, this festival became known as “International Days of the Lute” in cooperation with various radio networks. In 1992, a series documented this festival was produced by Deutsche Welle and translated into 34 languages and transmitted internationally. In 1990, he founded a circle of researchers in Lute music. Using as a basis the largest collection of original Lute Music and further research sources, they researched the actual and almost lost performance practices of the great Lute eras.
In 1993, Lutz Kirchhof received the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik for his CD, “World Festival of the Lute” with excerpts from the International Days of the Lute.
In 1994, he undertook a tour of Australia where he performed with great success in Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide and gave master classes at the most important music conservatories there as well as TV and radio appearances.
In 1995, he founded his ensemble, “Liuto Concertate”. “Liuto Concertato” is a further element in his solo work and in the production of recordings which feature the Lute as a concertizing instrument.
In 1996, Lutz Kirchhof initiated the founding of the German Lute Society with the European Lute Festival in the Linden Museum in Stuttgart.
In 1997, he released the first-ever recording of the madrigals of Princess Elisabeth of Hessen as well as music from her Lute Notebook. The participants in this groundbreaking release included the German/Ukranian soprano, Dorothe Mields whom Lutz Kirchhof discovered and who has gone on to a sterling international career and the internationally known Gambist, Martina Kirchhof, with whom he has formed the Duo Kirchhof. This recording of the works of Princess Elisabeth of Hessen appeared on the Sony Classical label in celebration of her 400th birthday.
In May 1997 and for the Hessischen Rundfunk in connection with the Arolser Baroque Festival, he produced a program with Polish solo and ensemble music. For this program, he also performed, among other works, historic Polish songs with the technique of the 16th century.
In 1998, he succeeded in fully reconstructing the historical technique of Lute performance as practiced by the great masters such as John Dowland or Sylvius Leopold Weiss. The use of this technique enables him a greater virtuosity and a broader sound spectrum for the expressive presentation of the music.
In the Bach/Weiss year, 2000, he founded the Festival of the Lute in Dresden with international artists and lecturers. This festival was warmly greeted by the media and has become an annual event. It is the largest Lute Festival in the world. In the same year, Lutz Kirchhof released, for the first time, a CD (Music for Witches and Alchemists). The content of this recording is planned according to humanistic principles and for which the musical intentions during the time of the creation of this music form the rationale for the recording.
In 2001 the premiere recording of the Suite in A for Baroque Lute and Violin was released, a partnership between Johann Sebastian Bach and Sylvius Leopold Weiss. The Violin soloist for this production is Giuliano Carmignola.
Since 2002, Lutz Kirchhof has concertized intensively, presenting approximately 100 concerts in year. Through these many performances, he has also optimized the adjustability of the instruments to the requirements of the concert halls and other performance venues.
Whether on tour through Japan, France, Norway, Israel, Tunesia or Germany, such as at the Bachfest in Leipzig or the Moselfestwochen, Lutz Kirchhof has successfully appeared in concert situations with up to 1,000 persons in the audience. Regardless of the circumstances, he has brought the impressive variety of the Lute and its music to a broad and appreciative public around the world.
Since 2011 he has worked with the American label CENTAUR that distributes his new CD-productions worldwide.
In 2014 he and Martina Kirchhof set up the label LutzLute® for which he produces new recordings in his own studio. The studio is equipped with technology optimally adapted to obtain the best tone quality from instruments of Quiet Music, such as the lute and viola da gamba. An historic room in his 300-years-old house is set aside specifically for that purpose!
Lutz Kirchhof's parents were professional photographers and initiated him into the secrets of artistic image creation at a young age. The production of music videos with wonderful nature and art images, in which Martina Kirchhof plays an active role, grew out of this passion.
A music-video production with popular Renaissance music taken from the Königsberg Lute Manuscript (c. 1600) was released under the title Chipass, Music of the travelling Entertainers. The pieces were recorded in the Old Merchant's House in Lauenburg-on-the-Elbe and in rural landscapes across Europe.
In 2016 Duo Kirchhof released a music film Rose Viole, Promenade Concert through the Palais Papius, that was commissioned by the City of Wetzlar and produced in the Palais Papius.
Both video-productions are available as DVDs and are also reproduced with high-resolution Blu-ray technology.
Since 2016 the Duo Kirchhof have brought out video-projections that accompany Kirchhof's commentaries and through deeply moving nature-animations presented as the music is played, enable the listener to experience the symbiose of music and nature. The stimulus for this project was an invitation from the City Museum in Munich, together with an idea proposed by Dr. Andreas Varsanyis of supplementing the musical recording and commentary with a video-animation.
In 2017, alongside concerts, Lutz Kirchhof has enhanced his commentaries with the mystico-spiritual but also practical statements of Martin Luther on lute music and the art of lute playing.
Lutz Kirchhof counts among the most important Lutenists of our time. Virtuosity, variety of sound, a unique and bright dynamic palette connected with his terpsichorean lightness lure his audiences into a dream world. Fantasy and emotional variety work together. At the same time, through his lively moderation, he brings you into the fascinating world of the Lute: a musical Atlantis waiting rediscovery by the modern world.
Lutz Kirchhof is one of the internationally most renowned lutenists. His virtuosity and expressiveness have been acclaimed by the largest record label companies for many years. Concert tours led him to all the continents. His particular merit is the research into and rediscovery of old lute playing techniques which enable him to interpret so brilliantly.
Lutz Kirchhof is the founder of the German Lute Society and various lute festivals. For a CD production of his World Festival of the Lute he was awarded the prize of the German record critic. In Dresden in 2000 he founded the Festival of the Lute. It was the largest lute festival in the world. Lutz Kirchhof has been invited to numerous radio- and television- productions. Reviews emphasize the expressivity and virtuosity of his lute playing. The Süddeutsche Zeitung called him " the modern reincarnation of Sylvius Leopold Weiss" who was acclaimed the greatest lutenist of all times.
In 2014 he founded, together with Martina Kirchhof, the label LutzLute that releases (publishes) fine European solo- and chamber-music.
Martina & Lutz Kirchhof
© Lutz Kirchhof