Here is some advice if you wish to engage a player for a concert, or for film or TV work, or for playing background music at a wedding, public event or function.
Professional players who are recording or concert artists can generally be contacted via their personal websites (a few have an agent) or via their recording companies, found with an ordinary search engine. Many also teach and so can be found on lists of teachers or college and conservatories. Otherwise, lute societies should be able to help find a player.
A prospective performer will need to know the date, time, and place of the engagement, any repertoire preferences, what your budget is for fee plus travelling expenses, and the dress code (eg. historic costume, concert black, or evening dress), and - important in the case of background music - whether the venue has a PA, or whether the player should bring their own amplification. If you are looking for a lute song duo, lute societies or online discussion groups can probably suggest performers, and if there is a famous player you wish to engage for a concert and cannot find their personal webpage on the internet, these may have their contact details. If the services of a good amateur or semi-professional would probably suffice, lute societies or online discussion groups can appeal to their general membership; some players will play without payment, in the case of a charity event, historical re-enactment etc.
Please note that the lute, and the people who play it, are generally rather quiet and refined; if you plan the sort of event where an otherwise unemployed actor dressed as Henry VIII dances on the tables and sings bawdy songs, while busty waitresses in bodices served suggestive banana-based desserts to drunken businessmen, a lute player may not be an appropriate entertainment – you should contact a general entertainments agency; though some ‘minstrel’ acts do specialise in music for the rowdier events.
If you are a singer looking for a lute accompanist, we can help you to find one, you may contact one of the lute societies or online discussion groups. Besides your name, contact details, and whereabouts you live, potential accompanists will need to know your voice type (operatic, trained, natural, soprano, alto etc.), which repertoire you wish to explore, and whether it is for a professional or amateur concert or just for fun.
Good ways to meet up with other players are at summer schools and residential courses, one-day events or meetings of lute societies who may also be able to put out an appeal to their membership.
Some sort of lessons are always to be recommended, and lute teachers are friendly so don't be shy about contacting them. If you live in a remote location, some teachers offer lessons by Skype. Good ways to meet up with other players are at meetings of lute societies or summer schools and residential courses; you can put out an appeal via the lute societies, or the online discussion groups.