The Norwegian lutenist, Rolf Lislevand, studied the classical guitar at the Norwegian State Academy of Music from 1980 until 1984. In 1984, he entered the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Switzerland, which was then the most active early music centre in Europe. He studied there until 1987, under the guidance of Hopkinson Smith and Eugène Dombois. He was then asked by Jordi Savall to accompany him with groups such as Hespèrion XX, La Capella Reial de Catalunya and the Concert des Nations. Through Savall, he acquired first-hand knowledge of 17th century French viola da gamba music, just as Montserrat Figueras introduced him to 16th and 17th century Spanish vocal music.
Since 1987, Rolf Lislevand has been living in Verona, Italy, where he has been trying to reconstruct an authentic way of performing Italian music from the first half of the 17th century. Living in close contact with an old civilization which was always as attentive to modernism as tradition, he strives for a combination of intuition and research to guide him towards a comprehensive concept of style and aestethics of Baroque music.
In the past few years, Rolf Lislevand has expanded two aspects of his career : his work as a soloist ad a teacher. At the Conservatoire National de Toulouse (France), he has been allowed to develop a didactic method for instruments of the lute family which were cut off from their tradition centuries ago. Since 1993, he is a professor at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Trossingen (Germany). Whereas the apprenticeship in musical academies is often based on teaching stemming from Romantic 19th century tradition, at Trossigen ideals are pursued which are more in accordance with the humanistic concept of man and the artist.
Rolf Lislevand's solo-recordings are released by the French label Auvidis/Astrée. His first CD of music by the Italian-born lutenist Hieronymus Kapsberger received, along with glowing reviews, the French 'Diapason d'Or de l'année 1994' award. The same year, the Kapsberger CD was voted the 'Best Record of Music before 1650' at the MIDEM international music industry fair in Cannes and, in 1995, 'Critic's choice' of Gramophone. In 2000 The Santiago de Murcia CD was voted the 'Best Record of Music XVII-XVIII° century' at the MIDEM international music industry fair in Cannes and was awarded by the French 'Diapason d'Or de l'année 2000'.