When Vincent Royer changed instruments from the piano to the viola at the age of 13, he laid the foundations of an extraordinary artistic career. He now seeks freedom of sound and a kind of “tonal beauty” which includes every aspect and spectra of sound, leading him on a continual voyage of discovery. Yet his sound research is not simply on a material level, but always closely related to human concerns and to spiritual and existential dimensions. This is reflected in his extensive involvement with music in a wide variety of projects.
On completing his studies in Freiburg and Cologne Royer, born in Strasbourg, formed the ALEA group together with the pianist Paulo Alvarès – an ensemble for collective composition and improvisation which also appeared in enriching combinations with dance, video and literature. His current formations in the field of improvisation are the BRAC Quartet, the Gratkowski/Royer Duo and a duo with the architect and video artist Matthias Siegert.
Sound research also plays a central role in his compositions. “Traverse” won recognition at the “International Computer Music Conference” in Berlin in 2000 and “Lumen” (2003) was created at the “Centre Henri Pousseur” in Liège, which Royer has been associated with since 2001. As a performer, he has worked closely with composers such as Horatiu Radulescu, Luc Ferrari, Pascal Dusapin, Vinko Globokar, Jean-Luc Fafchamps, Fabrizzio Cassol, David Shea, Robert HP Platz, Christophe Bertrand and Ken Ueno.
Royer has a wide repertoire, including many works dedicated to him. He performs worldwide as a soloist and in chamber music and is also a member of various ensembles, including the Cologne Gürzenich Orchestra. He won the “Prix Xenakis” in 1991 and “La Bourse Lavoisier” in 1995, a French Ministry of Culture scholarship for the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada. In Banff and in ZKM (Karlsruhe) he developed improvisations for viola and electronics and a viola sound catalogue together with the computer scientist and composer Gerhard Eckel. His CD recordings of music by Luc Ferrari, Jean-Luc Fafchamps and Giacinto Scelsi were all awarded the renowned French distinction “Coup de Coeur” from the “Académie Charles Cros”.
Since 2010 Vincent Royer is professor of chamber music at the “Conservatoire Royal de Liège” (Belgium).