The German lutenist, Lutz Kirchhof, began taking lute lessons as a young boy and at the age of 12 gave his first concert. He studied the lute 14 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 Lutz Kirchhof 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 J.S. Bach's Lute Suites played in the original keys and with the original lute tunings.
As guest tutor Lutz Kirchhof 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", Kirchhof received the Price 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 Lutz Kirchhof 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, he 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 Lutz Kirchhof 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 16th century.