Return to Canada

This is a short family and personal history. Please see the other biographies for detailed information on the different facets of my career.

My ancestry can be traced back to Jean Royer (1634 -1675/76).  Son of Jean Royer and Marie Pais, Jean Royer was baptized in France on March 29, 1634 in the church Notre-Dame de Vair of Saint-Cosme-de-Vair located in the diocese of Le Mans. He migrated to New France (Canada) and would be mentioned for the first time on August 10, 1659 when he obtained a concession from Charles de Lauzon in the seigneury of Liret (Sainte-Famille). Jean Royer and Madeleine Dubois gave birth to an illegitimate daughter, Marie-Madeleine Royer, who was baptized on February 20, 1662. Having signed a marriage contract in October 9, 1663 in Quebec City, he married another woman, Marie Targer, born in France on February 22, 1642. She was one of the King’s Daughters (French: filles du roi; filles du roy), a term used to refer to the approximately 800 young French women who immigrated to New France between 1663 and 1673 as part of a program sponsored by King Louis XIV designed to boost New France’s population both by encouraging male colonizers to settle there, and by promoting marriage, family formation and the birth of children. Jean Royer died at Ste-Famille between 1675 and 1676. He had 86 descendants by 1729. 

My great grandfather, Napoleon Royer (1878-1950), moved to the USA in 1896 and settled in Lewiston, Maine. My father, Richard Royer, was born in Lewiston, Maine, and moved to Los Angeles after serving in the US Air Force. I was born in Hollywood in 1959. My mother, Virginia DiTullio Royer, was a pianist and several members of her family were professional musicians. I was surrounded by music growing up and this inspired me to become a musician.

I began my career as a professional freelance cellist, working in Los Angeles from 1980 to 1985. I met my wife Kaye, a clarinetist from Canada, in a music festival in Siena, Italy in 1982. We married and I immigrated to Canada, both in 1985. For the next 5 years, we split our time between Burlington, Ontario and Los Angeles, before settling full time in Toronto in 1990. A Royer has come full circle back to Canada.

For more information on Jean Royer and his descendants, go to

For more information on the King’s Daughters, go to

My mother’s family were of Italian origin, with several of them being professional musicians. I was born in 1959 in Los Angeles and began my musical studies by studying piano with my mother, Virginia DiTullio Royer. At age 10, I switched to the cello, studying with my grandfather, Joseph DiTullio. Growing up, I listened to lots of great music from family members and their friends, colleagues, and students, and heard lots of interesting stories about their experiences in the music world. Above all, they loved and were passionate about music, and they inspired me. At 16, I decided to become a professional cellist. I had a built-in accompanist with my mother and an enthusiastic listener with my father.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in music, I started working as a freelance musician. From 1980 to 1990, I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to enjoy a variety of musical experiences working in Los Angeles and Toronto, but also touring in the United Stated and Japan.

I met my wife Kaye, a clarinetist, in a music festival in Siena, Italy in 1982. We married in 1985 and have been sharing our love for music and each other ever since. We have enjoyed playing chamber music and in orchestras together. She has been an inspiration and I have written several clarinet solos for her. I would not have become a composer without her support and encouragement.

In the fall of 1990, we settled full time in Toronto, and I shifted my musical focus to teaching and composition. After I started working as a composer, I started getting asked to conduct my music with orchestras. This led to me being invited to become the conductor of the Scarborough Philharmonic in 2008, a post I still hold. As well, I started being asked to become involved in recording projects as a composer and producer.

I am very thankful for being able to make my life in music, and I have tired to share my love and passion for music in my compositions, in my performances and recordings, with my students, and with my friends, family and colleagues.