Professor Michael Rofe

Job title
Chair of Creative Connected Communities
01326 255879

Michael is Chair of the Creative Connected Communities research centre at Falmouth University, and is also the course coordinator for BA(Hons) Music.

Michael's background is in musicology and its links to technology, education and community music. In particular, he is interested in the way in which time is perceived in and through music. This has resulted in a range of outputs, including a monograph (Dimensions of Energy in Shostakovich’s Symphonies, Ashgate, 2012), and an edited volume (Kaija Saariaho: Visions, Narratives, Dialogues, Ashgate 2011). More recently, Michael explored the way in which latency – time delay – behaves when making music live online. This resulted in the Online Orchestra, a £220,000 AHRC-funded project he led from 2014-2016 that aimed to enable children and amateur musicians who live in remote locations to connect together online to make music in real time. It involved a team of 55 researchers and consultants, including 15 colleagues from Falmouth University, and members of the Cornish music and music education communities. It resulted in a performance on 15 July 2015 in which musicians from around Cornwall – including some on the Isles of Scilly who had never had the opportunity to play in an orchestra before – connected together online to perform three new works commissioned as part of the project (see

Having completed a PhD on the music of Dmitri Shostakovich at the University of York, Michael went on to lecture at York St John University before moving to Falmouth. He has also worked as a freelance researcher for Classic FM and Canterbury Christ Church University. Michael teaches aspects of theory, musicology and music technology on the BA(Hons) Music, BA(Hons) Creative Music Technology and BA(Hons) Popular Music courses. 


YearQualificationAwarding body
PhD, Music
University of York
MA, Music Analysis
University of York
BA, Music
University of York

Honours and awards


FXU (Falmouth-Exeter Student Union) Innovative Teaching Award


Falmouth Staff Excellence Award - Research and Innovation

Research interests

Research interests and expertise

Michael's research interests centre around music theory and analysis, particularly regarding musical energetics and musical time. He specialises in contemporary repertoire and theory, though has also worked extensively with Russian repertoire, particularly that of Shostakovich, and early twentieth century Russian music theory, including the works of Yavorsky, Asafiev and Conus. Michael is particularly interested in temporal proportion in music, specifically symmetry and golden section, and the effect these might have on the perception of time and energy in music. More recently, Michael has specialised in the way in which musical time behaves in latency rich environments, with a view to enabling online performance across multiple locations.

Michael was principal investigator for The Online Orchestra, a project that asks how we can use burgeoning network technologies and creative approaches to composition to give people in remote communities access to the recognised benefits of ensemble music making. The project is funded by the AHRC's Connected Communities and Design highlight, and is being run in collaboration with Bristol University, the Philharmonia Orchestra and the Cornwall Music Education Hub.

Research centre and group affiliations


Research outputs

Publications and research outputs

Book Chapter


Rofe, Michael (2011) Capturing time and giving it form: Nymphéa. In: Kaija Saariaho: Visions, Narratives, Dialogues. Ashgate, Farnham, Surrey, UK. ISBN 978-1-4094-2116-0 Item not available from this repository. 




Rofe, Michael (2012) Dimensions of Energy in Shostakovich's Symphonies. Ashgate, Farnham, Surrey, UK. ISBN 9781409407454 



Rofe, Michael and Howell, Tim and Hargreaves, Jon, eds. (2011) Kaija Saariaho: Visions, Narratives, Dialogues​. Ashgate, Farnham, Surrey, UK. ISBN 9781409421160 




'Shostakovich, Yavorsky and the Tritone'. Conference paper for Russian and Soviet Music: Reappraisal and Rediscovery, Durham University, July 2011


'Nested Proportions in the Symphonies of Dmitri Shostakovich'. Conference paper for Music and Numbers Conference, Canterbury Christ Church University, May 2010


'Dimensions of Energy: Shostakovich’s Sixth Symphony'. Conference paper for Royal Musicological Association Research Students’ Conference, King’s College London, January 2009


'Unpacking the Russian Doll: Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony'. Conference paper for Cardiff University Music Analysis Conference, September 2008


'Aspects of Structural Similarity in Shostakovich’s Fourth and Fifth Symphonies'. Conference paper for Shostakovich 100 Festival and Symposium, Goldsmith’s, University of London, September 2006


'Structural Momentum in the Music of Shostakovich'. University of York Research Seminars, May 2006

Externally funded research grants information

Year startingYear endingProject titleFunderValueCollaboratorsHESA Category
The Online Orchestra

The Philharmonia Orchestra; Cornwall Music Education Hub

Research students

Research degrees examined

Michael has examined PhDs both internally and externally.


Courses taught

Making Music
Musical Building Blocks
Music Theory
Writing about Music
Music in Culture and Critical Theory
Exploring Timbre
Professional Practice Project

Business engagement

Business engagement case studies

Michael has worked with Yamaha to set up the Falmouth-Yamaha Jazz Summer School, and with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Cornwall Music Education Hub to develop the Online Orchestra project.