Rolf Lislevand was born in Oslo in 1961. He studied the classical guitar at the Norwegian State Academy of Music. 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 in groups such as Hespèrion XX, La Capella Reial de Catalunya and Le Concert des Nations. Through Savall, he acquired first-hand knowledge of 17th century French viola da gamba music, while Montserrat Figueras introduced him to 16th and 17th century Spanish vocal music. Since 1987, he has lived 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. This led him to form the Ensemble Kapsberger. Since 1993 his recordings with this group or as a soloist have been released on the Auvidis/Naïve label. In the same year he was appointed to a professorship at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Trossingen (Germany), and resigned his post at the Conservatoire National Régional in Toulouse (France).
With the Ensemble Kapsberger, he presents a new artistic conception of the instrumental music of the 17th century and a revisionist approach to current performing traditions in early music. His interpretations of the works of Kapsberger, Santiago de Murcia (a CD, Codex, which won the Diapason d’Or of the year and the Cannes Classical Award for best recording of 17th and 18th century music in 2000), Gaspar Sanz, and other composers neglected today, have given new impetus to a whole generation of instrumentalists. Lislevand reintroduces into music-making elements of rhythm and genuine improvisation, wonderful mastery of timbres and of the acoustic space, thereby conveying the values of an earlier musical tradition to
In parallel with the work of the ensemble, he has realised his own vision of the lute solo repertoire and become established as one of the foremost lutenists of our time, a status confirmed by unanimous critical acclaim and many record awards. He also collaborates with prominent artists from a wide variety of musical horizons. This has prompted him to work with Baroque orchestras (as conductor), jazz and flamenco musicians, and popular ensembles of varying origins, and in Arab, oriental, and contemporary western music. He currently appears as a soloist or directing his ensemble at numerous festivals in Europe, the United States and Asia.
Source: Naive (Indigo)