Image of Dr Colin Roth

Dr Colin Roth

Colin Roth is an interdisciplinary specialist in the psychology of aesthetics and an honorary research fellow in the Philosophy Department of the University of Sheffield. He rediscovered his early Nordic enthusiasms at a Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra concert of music by Carl Nielsen in 1999, conducted by his contemporary, Douglas Bostock.

Colin Roth’s interest in the choreographer, Bournonville and Danish culture in general had originally been fostered bythe promotion of Danish food in the UK in the early 1960s masterminded by Knud Ravnkilde, and the presence of an imprisonably wicked Danish master who organised exchange trips at his school, Westminster City.

His undergraduate dissertation on the development of classical ballet style, supported by study at the Institute of Choreology and with the Royal Ballet, included an examination of August Bournonville’s role in the onward transmission of competing French and Italian traditions, and led to a Petrie Watson Travel Exhibition to study the Stepanov Collection of Sergeev dance notations in the Houghton Library, Harvard University, USA.

His PhD, awarded by Sheffield University in 1982, was on the creative process and its relationship to social, economic and political pressures on the creative artist; it examined works in the fields of music, literature, art, architecture, ballet and psychology in the period 1880-1914.

Since 2000 he has supported the Carl Nielsen Edition published by the Danish Royal Library through proof reading of English texts and editorial assistance for Niels Krabbe, the Edition’s General Editor. He has also assisted with the JPE Hartmann Edition published by the Royal Library and other publications and articles by the staff of its Music Department.

A major programme to promote Danish music in Sheffield was launched, with the support of University of Sheffield Convocation Trust for the Arts, in 2000. Douglas Bostock directed a week-long orchestral study programme, assisted by Dr Adrian Moore, leading to a concert of music by Carl Nielsen which raised sufficient funds to purchase the entire Carl Nielsen Edition for the University Library. The concert was sponsored by Tetley-Carlsberg Ltd and William Hansen Edition. In 2001, Bang & Olufsen and Oddbins Corporate sponsored a visit to Sheffield and Nottingham by the Tolkien Ensemble of Copenhagen which included a sequence of concerts and a visit to a Sheffield primary school.

Colin RothPainting by Hammershøi called Interior gave a lecture, 'Hammershøi and the Danish Tradition of Story-telling' at the Royal Academy of Arts, London on 14 July 2008. The slide list for the lecture is available now. We are grateful to Finn Terman Frederiksen,  Director of the Randers Kunstmuseum) for permission to show Hammershøi's painting 'Interior: young woman seen from behind, c. 1904' on the left.

In April 2010 he contributed a paper, 'Christen Købke, story-telling and emerging ideas of being' to a two day conference held in London at the Royal Danish Embassy and the National Gallery in support of the exhibition of the work of Christen Købke at the National Gallery, curated by Professor David Jackson (University of Leeds); the presentation was given again in Edinburgh on 24 July as part of a study day jointly organised with the Danish Cultural Institute, to support the exhibition's residence at the National Gallery of Scotland for the summer.

His paper, 'Carl Nielsen's cultural self-education: his early engagement with fine art and ideas and the path towards Hymnus Amoris', was published in December 2011 in volume 5 of Carl Nielsen Studies. He has completed an unsingable singers' translation of the libretto of Peter Heise's opera, Drot og Marsk, for the Danish Centre for Music Publications (Royal Library Copenhagen) which is due for publication as part of the full score in late 2012.

An article about perceptions of the shared history of the English and Danish languages which emerged during the work on this translation will shortly be available for download from the Danish Centre for Music Editions at the Royal Library Copenhagen, and is, in the meantime, available on request from Colin Roth.

Selected publications, April 2000: ‘Like a dream… a report on the Bournonville Festival in Copenhagen, January 2000’.

Carl Nielsen concert programme, University of Sheffield, 12 November 2000: ‘Our Danish History’.

Carl Nielsen Studies1, Royal Danish Library (2003): ‘Stasis and energy: Danish paradox or European issue?’ (Originally given at the 1 November 2001 Carl Nielsen Symposium, Birmingham Conservatoire)., July 2005: ‘Til lykke for festivalen’ about the June 2005 3rd Bournonville Festival, Copenhagen.

Bournonville Symposium, Copenhagen, August 2005. Dance Chronicle, Vol 29/3, 2006 (USA): contributions to proceedings.

Danish Yearbook of Musicology, Vol. 33, 2005 (published June 2006): Review of Dansen er en kunst. Bournonville—der levende tradition, ed. Ole Nørlyng, Copenhagen 2005. pp. 125-7.

Fund og Forskning, Bind 46, Royal Danish Library, Autumn 2007: ‘Bournonville: some untold stories’, as presented to the Bournonville Symposium, Copenhagen, August 2005.

Carl Nielsen Studies 4, Royal Danish Library, December 2009: Manchester conference paper, January 2009, 'Carl Nielsen and the Danish Tradition of Story-telling'.

Fund og Forskning, Bind 50, Royal Danish Library, Winter 2011:‘Speaking of Irony: Bournonville, Kierkegaard and Heiberg’, a re-examination of a speech made by Bournonville in 1861.

Carl Nielsen Studies 5, Royal Danish Library, October 2012: 'Carl Nielsen's Cultural Self-Education: his early engagement with fine art and ideas and the path towards Hymnus Amoris'.

Drot og Marsk (King and Marshal) by Peter Heise, a new complete edition of the 1878 opera with an unsingable singers' translation (into English), Centre for Music Editions, Royal Library Copenhagen, Winter 2012.

'Drot og Marsk: a wormhole to West Scandinavia', published on the website of the Centre for Music Editions, Royal Library Copenhagen.