Land of Shining Waters



(flute 2 is optional, tuba part can be played by a bass trombone)

Composed: 2018

Length: 6:00″


I composed Land of Shining Waters as a musical tribute to the history of the city of Peterborough, Ontario. The first section of the composition starts with a slightly mysterious feel representing the mists of time. A slow and majestic theme follows, paying homage to First Nations’ peoples who first settled in the area.

The second part of the composition celebrates the founding of the city of Peterborough in 1825, when Peter Robinson directed the settlement of a large group of Irish immigrants in the area. The music is based on two traditional Celtic folksongs. The first folksong, Drummer Boy, is from Nova Scotia and is played by the piccolo. The second folksong, Rakes of Kildare, is from Ireland. It is first played by a solo bassoon, and then by other instruments, including a solo violin. In the last section of the piece, the Drummer Boy theme returns, but faster, creating an upbeat and exuberant ending.

Land of Shining Waters was commissioned by and is Dedicated to the Kawartha Youth Orchestra and music director Michael Newnham in celebration of the Kawartha Youth Orchestra’s 15th anniversary.

Fantasia on Canadian Carols/Fantaisie sur des Airs de Noël canadiens

  1. 2(2=picc).2(2=ehn).2.2./             (harp is optional, alternate version for 2 percussion)
  2. 2(2=picc).2(2=ehn).2.2./            (harp is optional)

Other Versions: Orchestra with SATB Choir or SA Children’s Choir; Chamber Orchestra with or without Choir or Children’s Choir; and String Orchestra with Choir or Children’s Choir

Composed: 2016

Duration: 10:00″


I was interested in writing two orchestra works, one for Christmas and another to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Canada in 2017. Finally, I realized I might be able to combine both these ideas into a single work, a Fantasia on Canadian Carols. I realized that I only knew of the Huron Carol. In the summer of 2015, I started to research the history of Christmas carols in Canada, which took me on a fascinating discovery of Canadian holiday traditions. I found three categories: carols that travelled from Europe and remained the same; carols that travelled from Europe and evolved into a Canadian variant; and new carols composed in Canada. I also discovered some uniquely Canadian Christmas music, including “Santa Claw” songs, found in the Maritimes.

I started talking about my idea to friends who gave me the idea of writing two versions, one for orchestra and the other for choir and orchestra. I chose to base my Fantasia on a group of four older traditional carols representing three areas of Canada: Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes. I decided to title this work in both our languages since two carols are sung in English and two in French.

The Huron Carol

The Huron Carol is considered to be the first Canadian Christmas carol, probably first sung in 1641 or 1642, and written by Jean de Brébeuf, a Jesuit missionary at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons in Ontario. Brébeuf wrote the lyrics in the native language of the Huron/Wendat people to a French folk song Une Jeune Pucelle (A Young Maiden). The lyrics of this carol combines the birth of Jesus with Huron religious concepts. Today, this carol is commonly heard with the English lyrics written by Jesse Edgar Middleton in 1926.

Il est né, le divin Enfant

Il est né, le divin Enfant (He is born, the divine Child), is originally a traditional French carol, but travelled to Canada to become part of French-Canadian Christmas celebrations. Ernest Gagnon, an important 19th century collector of French-Canadian folksongs, used this carol in his Cantiques populaires pour la fête de Noël (1909), a wonderful collection of French Canadian Christmas carols for choir and organ. The melody in this version is slightly different than the original French carol.

The chorus of this carol has strong musical connections, “He is born, the Heav’nly Child, Oboes play; set bagpipes sounding. He is born, the Heav’nly Child. Let all sing His nativity.”

The Cherry-Tree Carol

The Cheery-Tree Carol is an old traditional English carol from the early 15th century. There are different versions of this carol, so it is not surprising that it found a new melody and lyrics in Canada. The important collector of folksongs from the Maritimes, Helen Creighton, collected a beautiful version from William Riley, who lived in the aptly named Cherry Brook, Nova Scotia. The lyrics tell an apocryphal story of the Virgin Mary, occurring while traveling with Joseph to Bethlehem for the census.

La Guignolée

La Guignolée or La Guiannée, is a French medieval tradition that travelled to French Canada with the first French settlers. It became popular in Quebec, parts of the Maritimes (including New Brunswick), and a few French-Canadian communities in the United States. Occurring on either Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve, the singing participants went door to door asking for food and drink, plus donations for the poor. The backside of the pig was considered a prize, and if not available, the group would ask to take the eldest daughter or even threaten to burn down the house. According to Marius Barbeau, the great 20th century collector of French folksongs, the rowdy group was followed by an old buggy (to contain the gifts), and all the dogs of the neighourhood. Ernest Gagnon discovered the catchy melody from the area around Montreal and Quebec.

Commissioning and First Performances

The Fantasia on Canadian Carols was commissioned and premiered by the International Symphony Orchestra (Douglas Bianchi, conductor) joined by the International Symphony Singers (Dr. David Troiano, conductor) on December 2, 2016 (Clyde Township, Michigan) and December 3 (Sarnia, Ontario); the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra (Ronald Royer, conductor) on December 3 (Scarborough, Ontario); Symphony New Brunswick (Michael Newnham, conductor) joined by the Louisbourg Choir (Monique Richard, conductor) on December 3 (Saint John, New Brunswick), December 5 (Moncton, NB) and December 6 (Fredericton, NB); and the Brantford Symphony Orchestra (Philip Sarabura conductor) on December 10, 2016 (Brantford, Ontario).

Exuberance (orchestra)


2 Versions:                                                                                                                         

  1. 2(2=picc).2.2.2./            (alternate parts for 2 percussion)
  2. 2(2=picc).2.2.2./            (alternate part for 1 percussion)

Date: 2010
Duration:  6:00


The Oxford dictionary defines exuberance as “the quality of being full of energy, excitement, and cheerfulness; ebullience.” I was excited when conductor Brian Jackson approached me with the idea of a short virtuosic overture for orchestra. After discussing what he was envisioning, I realized the word “exuberance” reflected his ideas well and could be used as the title. The process of composing this upbeat composition was a particularly enjoyable experience for me.

Exuberance starts with an introductory flourish, followed by the main theme played by a solo oboe. This theme is passed through the orchestra, often partially, but occasionally as the full theme. The music slows, becomes more serene and introduces a new theme played by a solo clarinet. After this second theme is played by the full orchestra, a short clarinet cadenza transitions the music back to the original exuberant theme and music. A final coda section leads to a triumphant brass led ending.

Commissioning and First Performances

Exuberance for Orchestra was commissioned by conductor Brian Jackson in connection with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Orchestra London, the Thunder Bay Symphony, and the Victoria Symphony and was supported by a Toronto Arts Council Music Creators and Composers Grant. The first performances occurred on January 13, 2011 at the River Run Centre, Guelph, and January 14 and 15, 2011, at the Centre in The Square, Kitchener, performed by the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Brian Jackson, conductor. This was followed by performances by Orchestra London on Feb. 4 and 6; the Victoria Symphony on April 7, 8, 9 and 11; and the Thunder Bay on April 16, 2011, all conducted by Brian Jackson.

On Tour in China with the Ontario Festival Orchestra

The Ontario Festival Orchestra, Jerome Summers conductor, performed Exuberance in Suzhou, Yancheng, the Changshu District, Nanjing, and Hangzhou, all in the area surrounding Shanghai, China. A highlight of the tour was the New Year’s Eve concert in the Yancheng Theatre, which was also broadcast on Chinese television to millions of people in China and beyond (including Canada). Mr. Royer had the privilege to be the guest of honour for the mayor of Yancheng, sitting next to him during the concert.

The Ontario Festival Orchestra, New Year's Eve 2011, Yancheng, China
The Ontario Festival Orchestra, New Year's Eve 2011, Yancheng, China
Dr. Jeannie Pool, Brian Jackson, Kaye Royer, Ronald Royer & Louise DiTullio after a concert with the Niagara Symphony
The Ontario Festival Orchestra in rehearsal, Nanjing, China

Suite from the Motion Picture Gooby

(Kevin Lau, co-composer, Chris Meyer, orchestrator)


2(2=picc).1.2.2./ (harp or piano are optional; alternate parts for 2 percussion)

Date: 2008
Duration: 12:14                                                            

  1. Main Title – 1:35
  2. Bicycles, Bullies and Bears – 2:35
  3. Space Cart Ride – 1:14
  4. Construction Site Waltz – 1:29
  5. Gooby’s Farewell – 3:53
  6. Finale – 1:28


Gooby (DVD-2009)

Monterey – Theatrical – DVD / VHS

– Genre: Action and Adventure, Family
– Writer, Director, Producer: Wilson Coneybeare
– Cast: Matthew Knight, Robbie Coltrane, Eugene Levy, David James Elliott, Ingrid – Kavelaars

-Composers: Ronald Royer and Kevin Lau (Orchestrated by Chris Meyer)

Imagine if you had a six-foot tall “monster” to help you through the rough times when you were a kid! Willy (Matthew Knight) is terrified about moving into the family’s new house. He’s convinced it’s filled with evil space aliens out to get him. In response to his longing for someone to save him, Gooby (voiced by Robbie Coltrane, Harry Potter’s Hagrid) comes to life as a big, lovable, scruffy creature who quite possibly may be more frightened of the world than Willy. The two new pals embark on hair-raising adventures and learn about courage and the power of friendship all the while with Eugene Levy (Night at the Museum) on their trail. In the end, Gooby fulfills Willy’s wish by bringing Willy and his dad (David James Elliott, “JAG”) together in a heart-warming and exciting climax.

Premiered at the Cannes International Film Festival. Finalist International Family Film Festival, Los Angeles; Platinum Remi Worldfest, Houston, International Film Festival; Official Selection, Sprockets Toronto International Film Festival for Children.

Mirage (orchestra)



Other Versions: Chamber Orchestra, String Orchestra and Quintet

Date: 2007

Duration:  9:45


My intent in this composition is to explore the shifting and illusionary world of the dream state. Mirage begins with a slow meditative introduction representing the act of falling asleep. A solo viola cadenza follows, starting a sequence of musical episodes, each emphasizing different emotions and parts of a dream. As the string orchestra enters, the music takes on a melancholy air with occasional mysterious interludes. In the next section, the music speeds up and takes on a restless and more intense character employing a bluesy and jazz-infused theme. The music moves into a more flowing and serene section before leading into a faster and more agitated section representing the dream taking a more troubled direction. Leading to an unsettling climax, the music abruptly stops leaving silence. The original meditative music returns as the dreamer starts to awake entering that in-between world of wondering if the dream was real or not.


          Mirage is based on three musical motifs which are continuously evolving and developing, giving the music an unstable yet unified character. The first two motifs are heard in the opening five bars. The third motif is introduced in the first allegro section. The form can be considered a fantasia or fantasy variation.

Motif 1 – ascending perfect 5th, minor 2nd, and perfect 5th (bars 1-3)

Motif 2 – descending minor 2nd, and major 3rd, then an ascending major 2nd (bars 4-5)

Motif 3 – ascending minor 3rd, major 2nd, and minor 3rd (bars 44-45)

Commissioning and First Performance

Mirage was originally composed for orchestra and was commissioned by the Orchestras Mississauga (John Barnum, music director) with the assistance of a Canada Council for the Arts composer residency grant. The re-orchestrated version of Mirage for string orchestra was commissioned by the Orchestras Mississauga and Soundstreams Canada (Lawrence Cherney, artistic director) and again was assisted by the Canada Council for Arts composer residency grant. The first performance of the string orchestra version was on February 19, 2007 at the Glenn Gould Studio, Toronto, featuring the Amici Strings and the University of Toronto Schools String Ensemble conducted by Joaquin Valdepenas.


Water and Light



Date: 2007
Duration:  16:00

  1. Mist and Rainbows – 6:20
  2. Moonlight – 4:20
  3. Dawn – 5:20

Water and Light, Fireworks at the Falls seeks to explore the interaction between the water and light of Niagara Falls at different times during a summer day and night using orchestral music and fireworks in harmony (though this music can be performed without fireworks).  The music and the fireworks seek to represent this interaction using specific programmatic (more closely descriptive) elements as well as more abstract (poetic) forms of expression.  My intent was to create a framework in which music and visuals converge into a “form” or new “whole” that, as in opera and ballet, is more than the mere juxtaposition of art forms.

Water and Light consists of three continuous parts starting in the afternoon with Mist and Rainbows, celebrating the ever present mist above the Falls and its famous rainbows viewed from a distance.  The second part, Moonlight, starts mysteriously as the spectator enjoys the calm of Victoria Park away from the Falls at night.  As the spectator comes into the sight of the Falls, the music and fireworks grow in intensity as the power of the Falls at night illuminated by the moon becomes apparent.  Once again, the spectator leaves for more calm.  The third part, Dawn, starts very quietly and grows in intensity as the sun rises above the beautiful sight of the Falls.  As day breaks, the musical material from the first movement returns before going into the final coda section celebrating the majesty of the Falls during a bright summer day.

Go to Articles and Interviews in the main menu for an article about Water and Light.

Commissioning and First Performances

Water and Light, Fireworks at the Falls was commissioned by the Niagara Symphony with the Assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts.  The world premiere performance took place on the evening of July 1, 2006 at Victoria Park, Niagara Falls with fireworks to celebrate Canada Day.  Water and Light was also performed in the afternoon of July 1 without fireworks at St. Catharines Market Square.


The composer would like to acknowledge and thank the following individuals:

Daniel Swift, music director and conductor of the Niagara Symphony, who instigated this project and worked diligently to make it a reality. As well, his enthusiasm, support and encouragement were a source of inspiration for the composer.

Sarah Wood, Niagara Parks Commission Event and Public Relations Manager, for helping to develop this project.

David Whysall, of David Whysall International Fireworks, for supporting this project and working with the composer in developing the artistic plan for Water and Light.

Chris Meyer, fellow composer, pianist and friend, who helped with the development of the piano part.

The Bobsled



Date: 2005

Duration: 7:00


“The Bobsled” is in three continuous parts:  1) Preparation;  2) The Race;  3) Victory.

The music is based on the following description of a bobsled race:

1)  Preparation:  The driver of the Canadian Olympic Team starts his preparation for the race two hours before the start by walking the course for an hour and then warming up with the rest of the crew.  He is eagerly awaiting the race and is in high spirits.  Ten minutes before the race, he mentally visualizes the race; he has memorized every detail of the race course.  When the four man team is in place for their turn, a green light goes on and they have sixty seconds to start.  They take off their warm-up clothes and put their bobsled in the starting position. With one forward push and a pull back of the bobsled, they start the race.

2)  Race:  The four men push-start the bobsled as quickly as possible and jump in.  There is a very fast acceleration as the bobsled will reach a speed close to 145 km in less than 30 seconds.  The driver is in front and has to expertly guide the bobsled by using ropes connected to polished steel runners.  The driver struggles with the violently shaking bobsled to keep it on the perfect racing line for straight ways and turns.  At times, the driver is totally focused on guiding the bobsled and tunes out the noise of the ride.  The bobsled hits a hole in the ice in one of the curves and the driver fights to maintain control.  After succeeding in this fight, the driver again is in tune with the bobsled with the finish line quickly approaching.  Passing the finish, the brakeman engages a metal claw which digs into the ice to quickly stop the bobsled.

3)  Victory:  The four man team jumps out of the bobsled, celebrating the victory of qualifying for an Olympic race.  There is discussion of how to improve, but they also enjoy the thrill of a successful bobsled run.

Musically, “The Bobsled” uses two main themes throughout the composition.  The first theme, representing the thrill of bobsledding and the desire to do it well, is heard during the beginning of the piece.  The second theme is first heard when the music slows and two solo clarinets are featured.  This theme represents the intense concentration and the love of the sport needed to successfully drive a bobsled.  For the race, an unusual orchestral instrument is used—the “ocean drum” which sounds similar to a bobsled running on ice.  When the bobsled hits the hole in the ice, the first theme is inverted to represent the challenge at hand.  Throughout the race, the two themes are surrounded by downward pushing musical materials for obvious reasons.

The composer would like to acknowledge and thank Greg Haydenluck, driver of both two and four man bobsled races for the Canadian Olympic Bobsled Team (from 1984 to 1992), for his help and advice on bobsledding.

Commissioning and First Performance

“The Bobsled” was commissioned by and is dedicated to John Barnum and the Mississauga Symphony and was made possible as part of a Canada Council for the Arts composer residency grant.

First performance: December 17, 2005, Living Arts Centre, Mississauga, Mississauga Symphony, John Barnum conductor.

A Festive Overture



(alternate part for 1 percussion)

Other Versions: Chamber Orchestra and Septet


Festive Overture is based on, and inspired by, a short overture that I wrote for a young people’s theatre project called A Storyteller’s Bag. Based on three Ojibway stories, this project was developed by Peggy Hills McGuire, music director of The Chamber Music Society of Mississauga (and principal second violinist of the Mississauga Symphony). Besides the overture, I wrote the music to the story called The Star Lily.

After I was commissioned to compose a symphonic overture for the Mississauga Symphony, I had the idea of lengthening The Storyteller’s Bag Overture from three to seven minutes and expanding the instrumentation from seven musicians (clarinet, string quintet and percussion) to a full orchestra. After discussing this idea with the music director of the Mississauga Symphony, John Barnum, I began the process of transforming The Storyteller’s Bag Overture into what would become the Festive Overture. This resulting Overture changed a simple three-part ternary form into a more developed and complex sonata allegro form, allowing for several variations of the introductory material and the first or main theme (heard first by unison strings). The second theme (first heard by the solo clarinet) also received a second and varied appearance. Since the original idea of both overtures was to capture some of the joyful enthusiasm and wonder of youth, I was very pleased when the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra asked to co-sponsor the commissioning of the Festive Overture.

Commissioning and First Performances:

Festive Overture was co-commissioned by the Mississauga Symphonic Association and the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. The Mississauga Symphony, John Barnum music director and conductor, gave their premiere on March 27, 2004 at the Hammerston Hall, Living Arts Centre, Mississauga, Ontario. The Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, Glenn Mallory music director and conductor, gave their premiere on May 22, 2004, at the Great Hall, Hamilton Place, Hamilton, Ontario. This was part of a special 40th Anniversary Concert celebrating the foundation of the orchestra and Glenn Mallory’s directorship. The Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra received funding for the commission as part of an Ontario Trillium Grant project.



(harp and 3rd trumpet are optional)

Other Versions: Romance for Clarinet, String Orchestra, Piano and/or Harp; and Duetto Amoroso for Flute, English Horn and Orchestra  

Romance for Clarinet, String Orchestra, Piano and Harp (9:10), 2004


The Romance for Clarinet, String Orchestra, Piano and Harp was rewritten in the fall of 2004 for clarinetist Jerome Summers based on a previously composed orchestral piece called Cinema, which had been written the previous winter.  Cinema was commissioned for a special 40th anniversary concert to celebrate the foundation of the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and Dr. Glenn Mallory’s directorship. I had asked Glenn to describe his dream composition for this project.  After some thought, Glenn said he would love a piece featuring a beautiful romantic melody.

Today, one of the fields of musical composition that most highly values sweeping romantic melody is music for film.  Having worked in Los Angeles for the motion picture and television industry during the 1980’s, I decided to draw on this experience to compose Cinema.  Combining both American and European influences, Cinema and therefore Romance was written in two sections.  In this version called Romance, the opening section has a “Magical” atmosphere created by the strings, piano and harp against a more improvisatory and melodic clarinet part ending with a solo clarinet cadenza.  In the second section, the main romantic melody is first heard in the clarinet.  This section also includes a darker “film noir” melody featuring a solo violin and cello with the clarinet.  Romance ends as it began, quietly and calmly.

Romance was first performed by clarinetist Jerome Summers and the Toronto Sinfonietta conducted by Ronald Royer at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto on January 23, 2005.

Commissioning and First Performance

Cinema for Orchestra was commissioned by the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, as part of an Ontario Trillium Grant project connected to the 40th anniversary of the orchestra.

First performance: May 22, 2004, Great Hall, Hamilton Place, Hamilton, Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, Dr. Glenn A. Mallory conductor.


Overture to an Unscripted Movie



(bass clarinet, harp and/or piano are optional; alternate parts for 2 percussion)

Date: 2001

Duration:  11:38

Four continuous sections

  1. The Hero – 2:59
  2. The Villain – 2:38
  3. The Love Theme – 2:12
  4. The Fight – 3:48

Program Notes

An Overture to an Unscripted Movie was composed to pay homage to the orchestral scores written for Hollywood action/adventure films.  The Overture is in four continuous sections:  The Hero, The Villain, The Love Theme, and The Fight.  Since the Overture was written for an unscripted movie, the composer encourages both performers and audience members to create their own movie plots.

To write this composition, Mr. Royer drew on his extensive work as a freelance cellist in the Motion Picture and Television Industry in Los Angeles during the 1980’s.  Some of the films he worked on are:  Star Trek 3 and 4, Lethal Weapon, Footloose, Gremlins, Children of a Lesser God, The Last Starfighter, and television shows such as Little House on the Prairie, Dallas, and Fantasy Island.  He had the opportunity to play under many of the top film composers including Jerry Goldsmith, James Horner, Maurice Jarre, Henry Mancini, Lalo Shifrin and John Williams.

Details of a 2002 Independent Recording with soundclips .