Niels Rosing-Schow

Professor and Vice President, Music history, Theory, Composition, Management

… Exploring the forces of growth, transformation, and decay, it suggests a state of nature in constant flux. Rosing-Schow's works are marked by a subtle sense of orchestration, producing fascinating sonorities and beguiling instrumental colourings. (Dacapo)

Niels Rosing-Schow emerged as a composer within the framework of the Copenhagen based ’Gruppen For Alternativ Musik’ (The Alternative Music Group), which sought an alternative to European modernism as well as the slightly older generation of Danish composers such as Nørgård and Nørholm. The fruit of their labour was the ’New simplicity’ movement which is embodied in the early works of Rosing-Schow, such as Kinderlieder (1977). Niels Rosing-Schow later earned a degree in music from University of Copenhagen, a music teaching degree as well as a soloist diploma in composition from The Royal Danish Academy of Music where he debuted in 1987.

In the 80’s, Rosing-Schow included elements inspired by modernism and gravitated from a simplistic tonality towards a more complex expression. This stylistic shift is evident in E rigidis (1980-1981) where concrete patterns are gradually abandoned. Niels Rosing-Schow considers ’Trio for flute, viola and harp’ to be his breakthrough piece and as the ‘Debussy-esque’ instrumentation clearly demonstrates, Rosing-Schow was drawn to French music early on. During his studies in Paris in 1987, Rosing-Schow came across Tristan Murail’s music and the principles of spectral music, both of which have influenced Rosing-Schow’s later work with the use of tone colour in musical expression and contributed to the composition of a number of instrumentally and harmonically sophisticated chamber, ensemble, and orchestral works.´This stylistic choice is noticeable in ... sous les râles du vent d'Est (1993), but it becomes very clear in Archipel des solitudes (1994-1995) with lyrics by French poet Gilles Gourdon. A complex large-scale piece with a saturated tonality composed for mezzo soprano, choir and large orchestra, this piece is considered one of the composer’s main works.

Rosing-Schow’s latest major composition Nu og efter (2017), (Now and after) was written for the 150th anniversary of The Royal Danish Academy of Music for solo singers, choir and orchestra to lyrics by the young Danish poet Theis Ørntoft. In this piece, the tonal work is taken to the extreme while at the same time incorporating new formal approaches and forms of vocal expression.

Rosing-Schow’s music has been performed by a wide range of distinguished orchestras in Denmark and abroad e.g. Kremerata Baltica, Ensemble Alternance (Fr.) and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, and over the years he has enjoyed close collaboration with the French ensemble TM+ and Ensemble Storstrøm from Denmark.

Niels Rosing-Schow has held several positions within various Danish music organisations, such as the National Music Council (1991-1995), board member at the Dacapo label (2001-2008). From 2008 to 2014, he served as chairman of the Danish Composers’ Society and a member of Koda’s board (2008-2013). Rosing-Schow has been awarded the 3-year-grant from the National Arts Foundation (1982), The Ancherian Scholarship (1990), The Carl Nielsen and Anne Marie Carl-Nielsen honorary award (1993), and the WH music award (2000).

Niels Rosing-Schow has taught at The Royal Danish Academy of Music since 1985 and in 2013 he was appointed professor of composition.