The German lutenist, Joachim Held, studied at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis as a pupil of Eugen M. Dombois and Hopkinson Smith. Following the graduation with a "Diploma of Period Music" in 1988 he completed his studies under Jürgen Hübscher at the Musikhochschule Karlsruhe with a "Künstlerische Abschlussprüfung". In
In 1990 the second prize at the Concours Musica Antiqua of the Flandern Festival in Brügge marked the beginning of his international concert career.
Joachim Held is one of the foremost lute players of his generation. He captivates his audience with the refinement of his playing and moves the listener with expressing the different moods of the soul. Since 1992 he has regularly appeared with world famous orchestras including Il Giardino Armonico (amongst others on their Antonio Vivaldi recording with Cecilia Bartoli for Decca), Freiburger Barockorchester, Concentus Musicus Wien and Berliner Philharmoniker. Amongst the conductors he has worked are Giovanni Antonini, Claudio Abbado and Nikolaus Harnoncourt. Under Nikolaus Harnoncourt he also participated in the production of Herny Purcell's King Arthur at the Salzburg Festival 2004. As a soloist Held appeared amongst others at the Musikfestival Potsdam-Sanssouci, Internationales Bachfest Schaffhausen (Switzerland), Schwetzinger Festival, Düsseldorfer Bachtagen, Köthener Bach Festtage, Concerti a San Maurizio in Milan, Early Music Forum Budapest, concert series "Hausmusik" of the ORF Vienna, Lute Society London, Güldenen Herbst" in Thüringen and Handel Festival in Halle at the river Saale. Solo recital tours are planes for Australia and Chile in 2013.
Joachim Held's recordings show a lute player who combines technical perfection with an extraordinary power of imagination. "He deploys those distinctive stylistic traits that are the lifeblood of this music with the utmost taste" (American International Record Review, April 2006). In 1996 his first Solo-CD, "I grandi liutisti milanesi del Cinquecento", was released on the Symphonia label. His second CD with German works of the first part of the 16th century was released by the ORF Vienna in 2004. Here the artist gives life to an almost forgotten repertoire which is full of wonderful masterpieces. Since 2005 Held's recordings are released world-wide by Hänssler Classic. The same year the CD "Lute Music of the Renaissance - The Schele Manuskript Hamburg 1619" was co-produced with the Swiss Radio DRS2. The Book of Tablature by Ernst Schele is one of the central manuscripts for six- to ten - course lutes from the end of the Renaissance period. It is often quoted but almost not scientifically explored. This CD recording represents one of the most beautiful collections of well-known and also less well-know works from the 16th and 17th centuries. In 2006 Held was the first lute player ever to receive the renowned German Echo-Klassik Award. This is in the category "Best soloist recording of the year" for his CD "Delightful Lute - Pleasure. Baroque Lute music from the lands of the Habsburgs", released by Hänssler Classic. In June 2006, his discographical journey to the most beautiful lute compositons continued to Germany . "German lute music of the Baroque" was produced together with the Deutschlandfunk Cologne. In 2007 Italy ("Che Soávita") and in 2008 France ("Musique pour le Roi") was reached. In 2010 England ("Merry Melancholy") is the theme. In 2012 together with Bettina Pahn he recorded a CD with German Baroque songs. A recording of Lute works of J.S. Bach was published in 2013 by Hänssler Classic.
Since Autumn 2007 Joachim Held is Professor at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. In 2010 he was appointed Professor for Lute at the University of the Arts in Bremen. In 2013 he gave courses for the Conservatorio Santa Cecilia in Rome (Italy), and for the Summer Academy of the Mozarteum in Salzburg (Austria).