Niels Rønsholdt's works include experimental operas, installations, performances and concert music. Rønsholdt works with a kind of ‘method composing’ where conceptual constructions involve performance, text and a musical expression that reference e.g. mainstream music and historical musical forms.
He is concerned with connecting music’s fundamentally abstract nature with concrete sounds such as whip cracks, footsteps and breathing. On the one hand it is the abstract musical sounds that make up the compositional whole. On the other hand their individual sound quality brings a wealth of meanings and associations with them. Rønsholdt often works with extreme and intimate human expressions. He is particularly interested in those whose meaning is contradictory but nearly identical in terms of sound, e.g. the sounds behind excitement in the form of fear, pain or pleasure. In spite of the musical expression being uniform on first impression one is violently pulled around through different associations and readings. The composer finds his way into the intimate sphere of both the characters that appear in the works as well as that of the listener.
For Rønsholdt music is bound up with the body. Both in performance and in listening. Music’s basic substance has sensual elements in the form of rhythm and flow and many of Rønsholdt’s works circle around an erotic field of tension with a point of departure in the voice generally and breathing specifically. “The voice is interesting because there exists a merging between it and the person without any distance between body and sound. We are trained to read the most miniscule nuances - surprise, grief, pleasure, anxiety; therefore I try to crystallise and create sequences where these very different feelings are brought into play, change and create a complex network of (often contradictory) feelings and expressions – all within a structure that on the surface appears the same.”
Niels Rønsholdt studied composition at The Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus. Here he was taught by, amongst others, Karl Aage Rasmussen and Bent Sørensen. He furthered his studies in Berlin and received private tuition from the composer Helmut Oehring.
Rønsholdt has received many stipendia from, amongst others, the Danish Arts Foundation and Akademie der Künste. In 2009 he was awarded a 3 year stipendium by the Danish Arts Foundation.