Cellist Biography

Cellist Biography

"Afterward, cellist Ronald Royer took center stage for a mesmerizing performance of Saint-Saens' Cello Concerto" - News Press, Les Hammer, Glendale, California

Biography

“Ronald Royer returned to the stage for a stellar performance of Tchaikovsky’s masterful Variations on a Rococo Theme. What began as a simple theme with seven variations ended as a dazzling display of virtuosity. Listeners marveled as Royer effortlessly tackled the composer’s leaps, runs and trills…” – New-Press, Les Hammer, Glendale, California

As a cellist, Ronald Royer has had the opportunity to work with a diverse group of prominent artists, such as Julie Andrews, Emanuel Ax, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Joshua Bell, Ray Brown, Ray Charles, Andrew Davis, Placido Domingo, Jerry Goldsmith, Howard Hanson, Gregory Hines, James Horner, Maurice Jarre, Henry Mancini, Lalo Schifrin, Frank Sinatra, The Modern Jazz Quartet, Smokey Robinson, Michael Tilson Thomas, Sarah Vaughan, Dionne Warwick, Andrew Lloyd Webber, John Williams, and Stevie Wonder.

Born in Los Angeles into a family of professional musicians, Ronald Royer began by studying piano with his mother, Virginia DiTullio Royer. At age 10, he switched to the cello, studying with his grandfather, Joseph DiTullio. He later studied cello with Edgar Lustgarten, Raphael Kramer, Vladimir Orloff and Daniel Domb. While still a student, he had the opportunity to play with the Pasadena Symphony (Daniel Lewis, conductor) and the San Fernando Valley Symphony (Elmer Bernstein, conductor and film composer), as part of a small group of selected music students mentored within a professional orchestra. In 1979, while still in university, he auditioned and was selected to perform with the Utah Symphony for their summer season.

From 1980 to 1990, Mr. Royer worked as a freelance musician, fortunate to have had the opportunity to enjoy a variety of musical experiences. He was a member of the Los Angeles-based American Jazz Philharmonic (formerly named the New American Orchestra), conducted by film composer Jack Elliot. In 1981, he toured throughout the western United States with the Harvey Pittel Trio (classical saxophone, cello and piano) for Columbia Artists. He was a member of the Pacific Symphony for the 1982-83 season. In 1982 with conductor Christopher Fazzi, he  co-founded and played principal cello with the Glendale Chamber Orchestra, a professional ensemble which lasted through to 1989. In 1982 and 1983, he performed with the American Ballet Orchestra for their Los Angeles series. He performed at the 2nd American Cello Congress in Phoenix in 1984 and performed with the Utah Symphony in the winter of 1985. During the school year of 1985-1986, Mr. Royer did a Master of Music in Cello Performance at the University of Toronto, and was associate principal cellist of the Carmel Bach Festival in the summer of 1986. He performed concerts and recorded two CDs with the Toronto Symphony throughout the 1987-88 season and was substitute principal cellist for the Windsor Symphony in the fall of 1988. He regularly performed on chamber music series, including several for the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum Chamber Music Concerts broadcast live on KFAC FM. He performed concertos by C.P. E Bach, Lalo, Saint-Saens, and Tchaikovsky, as well as Popper’s Hungarian Rhapsody, both of Haydn’s concertos, and several concertos by Vivaldi, with orchestras in the US, Canada and Italy. He also premiered Christopher Fazzi’s Cello Concerto with the Glendale Chamber Orchestra in 1989.

Mr. Royer also worked as a freelance cellist in the Motion Picture and Television Industry in Los Angeles.  Examples of films he played for are:  Star Trek 3 and 4, Lethal Weapon, Footloose, Gremlins, The Last Starfighter, Firefox, The Outsiders, and Children of a Lesser God. Television shows include Little House on the Prairie, Dallas, Fantasy Island and the mini-series The Thorn Birds. Mr. Royer was also hired to perform for a Los Angeles revival of the musical The King and I starring Yule Brynner, the NBC television special Live From Studio 8H: 100 Years of America’s Popular Music (1981 TV Special), Grammy Living Legends (1989 TV Special honoring Liza Minnelli, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson), and the 32nd Annual Grammy Awards (1990).

In the fall of 1990, Mr. Royer settled in Toronto, and shifted his musical focus to teaching and composition. He did a Bachelor of Education Degree at the University of Toronto and in 1991, began to teach music for the Toronto District School Board. From 1993 to 1997, he took composition classes at the University of Toronto, ending with his second Master’s Degree, this time in composition. In 1997, he became an Instructor of Music at the University of Toronto Schools, and retired in 2018. From 1990 to the present, Mr. Royer has continued to free-lance as a cellist as well as perform chamber music. He has been a member of the Brantford Symphony Orchestra since 2003. A recent commercial CD featuring his cello playing is I Remember, performed by University of Toronto Schools Alumni Musicians and Friends, found on the Cambria Master Recordings label distributed by Naxos Records. He enjoys performing with his wife Kaye, a professional clarinetist.

Photo of Ron from the 1980s when he was working as a full-time freelance cellist.
A more recent photo
Members of the Odin String Quartet with Kaye and Ronald Royer playing for a promotional event for performances of the movie Amadeus with a live orchestra.