Robert Normandeau is Quebec's leading electro-acoustic composer after Francis Dhomont. One generation younger than his teacher, he took his best techniques and pushed them further into the "cinema for the ear." All about climates, drama, and narrative, his works capture the listener's attention, either in concert settings or through his steady output of albums.
Born March 11, 1955, in Quebec City, Normandeau followed the academic route to musique concrète: he obtained his bachelor's degree from the Universite Laval (Quebec) in 1984, his master's degree at the Universite de Montreal in 1988, and the first Ph.D. degree given by this institution four years later. He studied with Marcelle Deschenes and Francis Dhomont.
Normandeau played a key role in the development of Canadian electro-acoustic music. In 1987 he co-founded the Canadian Electroacoustic Community; he was an active member of the ACREQ, and co-founded the nonprofit organization Reseaux through which he produced numerous concert events. He teaches acoustics and electro-acoustics at the Universite de Montreal since 1988.
Although he occasionally writes pieces for instrument(s) and tape, most of Normandeau's output falls into the "acousmatic" category. His first CD, Lieux Inouis, came out in 2000. It revealed strong stylistic similarities to his mentor Dhomont, especially his sense of the narrative. Tangram, in 1994, gave first examples of his fascination with speech. International recognition came in 1996 when he was awarded the prestigious Golden Nica at that year's edition of the Ars Electronica competition for the work "Le Renard et la Rose," loosely based on Antoine de Saint-Exupery's tale Le Petit Prince. The piece was included on three compilation CDs before finding its way on his third solo album, Figures.