His work as a composer is mainly devoted to acousmatic music, although he composed some mixed works. More specifically, his compositions employ esthetical criteria whereby he creates a ‘cinema for the ear’ in which ‘meaning’ as well as ‘sound’ become the elements that elaborate his works. More recently Robert Normandeau composed a cycle of works of immersive multiphonic music for dome of loudspeakers. Along with concert music he has composed, for a period of twenty years, incidental music especially for the theatre.
He also worked as artistic director for over twenty years, especially for the concert series Clair de terre (Association pour la création et la recherche électroacoustiques du Québec (ACREQ)) from 1989 to ’93 at the Planétarium de Montréal, and Rien à voir and Akousma (Réseaux) from 1997 to 2006.
He is Professor in electroacoustic music composition at Université de Montréal since 1999 after completing the first PhDMus in Electroacoustic Composition (1992), under Marcelle Deschênes and Francis Dhomont. He leads the Groupe de recherche immersion spatiale (Spatial Immersion Research Group, GRIS), which produces sound spatialisation software.
He received three Prix Opus from the Conseil québécois de la musique (CQM): two in 1999 — “Composer of the Year” and “Record of the Year — Contemporary Music” for Figures (IMED 0944) — and one in 2013 — “Record of the Year — Contemporary Music” for Palimpseste (IMED 12116). The Académie québécoise du théâtre (AQT) has given him two Masque Awards (“Best Music for Theatre”): one in 2002 for the play Malina and the second in 2005 for the play La cloche de verre, both directed by stage director Brigitte Haentjens.
Robert Normandeau is an award winner of numerous international competitions, including Ars Electronica, Linz (Austria, 1993, Golden Nica in 1996), Bourges (France, 1986, ’88, ’93), Fribourg (Switzerland, 2002), Luigi Russolo, Varese (Italy, 1989, ’90), Métamorphoses, Brussels (Belgium, 2002, 04), Musica Nova, Prague (Czech Republic, 1994, ’95, ’98, 2012, ’13), Noroit-Léonce Petitot, Arras (France, 1991, ’93), Phonurgia Nova, Arles (France, 1987, ’88), and Stockholm (Sweden, 1992) and Giga-Hertz (Karlsruhe, 2010).
He received commissions from The Banff Centre for the Arts, BBC, CKUT-FM, Codes d’accès / Musiques & Recherches, Jacques Drouin, Les événements du neuf, Groupe de recherches musicales (GRM), Groupe de musique expérimentale de Marseille (GMEM), Terri Hron, Claire Marchand, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC), Open Space Gallery, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (OSM) / Société de transport de Montréal (STM), Arturo Parra, Société Radio-Canada, Réseaux, Sonorities Festival, Vancouver New Music, and Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (ZKM).
He was composer in residence in Banff (Canada, 1989, ’92, ’93, 2012), Bangor (Wales, UK, 2008), Belfast (Northern Ireland, UK, 1997), Bourges (France, 1988, ’99, 2005), Huddersfield (England, RU, 2015), Karlsruhe (Germany, 2004, ’05, ’10, ’11), Mons (Belgium, 1996), Morelia (Mexico, 2013), Ohain (Belgium, 1987, 2007), Oslo (Norway, 2015), Paris (France, 1990, 94), and Santiago (Chile, 2013).