English lutenist Ben Salfield is widely considerd to be one of the world's leading solo lutenists. He was born in Staffordshire, UK, in 1971, and has lived in Cornwall since childhood. He began learning the lute with Ian Thomson at Truro Guitar Studios in 1984, but after his teacher moved away he was self-taught. He made his concert debut at St Ives, Cornwall, UK, in 1988, and performed 2 months later for the Lute Society in Queens Square, London. Since then he has appeared both as a soloist and in various ensembles at leading festivals and venues all over Europe.
Salfield's international debut took place at Cologne, Germany, at the end of a 1993 UK tour during which he received sensational reviews. Soon after, he appeared on his first international tour, in the Czech Republic, where he first played for the Czech Classical Guitar Society in Brno.
Scores of music festivals, both nationally and internationally, have hosted Salfield's performances, including those at Bratislava, Brno, Cheltenham, Dolný Kubín, Graz, Gyöngyös, Hay, Hof, Nuremberg, Katowice, Malmö, Milan, Modra, Newbury, Nordhorn, Parma, Plymouth, Prague, Prostejov, Roseland, St. Austell, St. Ives, Swaledale, Warsaw, Zlín and Zory - among many others.
Tireless Ben Salfield has a reputation for completing nearly impossible feats of endurance, including appearing in 5 countries during a 17-day road-trip tour in Europe, performing for 8-hours without a break in a charity fundraising play-a-thon, and appearing in two sell-out concerts in a single night! His on-the-edge style and charismatic performances are known internationally, and he is known for his crowd-pleasing approach to music.
Apart from solo concerts, Salfield has appeared with many ensembles, from duos to string quartets. Currently, he is an active member of the Latin/Flamenco/World/Acoustic Rock quartet, "Horsemen of the Apocalypse", which features his brother Jon on Flamenco guitar, plus Rowan Nightingale on bass and Simon Stanton on percussion. The group has appeared across the UK and Europe, has been seen on BBC World TV by an estimated 12 million people worldwide, and recorded its debut album, "Revelation", in December 2016. Their forthcoming tours include Germany in April 2018. In complete contrast, he also appears with the Italian guitar maestro Andrea Dieci in the Elizabethan lute music ensemble, "Dieci Salfield Duo". Their UK and Polish concerts in 2015 received the highest possible praise in national magazines in those countries. They also performed together again in Slovakia and the UK in summer 2017. Salfield also appears with a number of other ensembles, and has performed baroque music with string quartets both at home and abroad.
Salfield has appeared many times on television and radio in the UK and abroad. Featured in numerous international newspapers and magazines, he is thought to have had more column inches written about him than any other current lutenist. Also known as an editor, composer, lecturer and teacher, he has appeared on juries for many major music competitions, given numerous masterclasses across Europe, and taught in international summer schools in Italy & Poland. He also runs a thriving private teaching practice in Cornwall.
As a promoter, Salfield has founded and directed dozens of concert series and festivals since 1992. He currently manages Kernow Concerts, who act as his publicists and organise an international recital series in Cornwall per year. Ben Salfield is currently the Director of the new Hellys International Guitar Festival, which is based in Helston, the UK's most southerly town.
To date, he has released 2 solo discs; "10 Years of Luting..." and "Fantasie". He plans a new solo DVD and CD recording later this year.
Following the publication of Salfield's 2010 guitar suite "5-4-10", written for Andrea Dieci, by Polish publishers Modran in December 2012, he was signed up by Peacock Press to produce books of lute music. After 12 editions and a little under 4 years, Salfield left Peacock Press and announced that he had signed a deal with Danish publishers Bergmann Edition.
Since 2013, Ben Salfield has only performed on Kif Wood instruments, and since 2016 he has been endorsed by German string manufacturers Hannabach. whose 815 SLT strings he uses exclusively.