Robert Lemay has composed an exceptional catalogue and received numerous international awards. Among recent honors include the second prize from the International Competition Prize Luxembourg 2007 and the second prize from the Kazimierz Serocki 10th International Composers’ Competition 2006. Other international prizes include the first prize from the 2004 Harelbeke Muziekstad Wind Ensemble Competition in Belgium. The first prize was given by the city of Harelbeke with 10,000 Euro for his piece, Ramallah for alto saxophone and wind ensemble. In addition, Lemay received three first prizes from the CAPAC (presently SOCAN).
His music often employs virtuoso performance techniques and is characterized by an imaginative and unconventional use of the concert hall space. Lemay has been performed in Canada, the United States, Asia (Japan and Thailand), Europe (France, Denmark, Spain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Poland and Belgium), South America (Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela), Mexico (XXXII Foro Internacional de Música Nueva Manuel Enríquez) and Australia (2010 ISCM World New Music Days). Many of his pieces have also been broadcast on Société Radio-Canada, CBC, Bavarian State Radio, European Broadcasting Union (Luxembourg), Polish National Radio and ABC Classic FM (Australia). By 2010, his music has been released commercially on 10 different CDs, including Débâcle on Atma label by Estria Woodwind Quintet and Mare Tranquilitatis III on LGNM label by the Luxembourg Sinfonietta.
Saxophone is dominant in his œuvre. Lemay has written for performers such as Daniel Gauthier, Jean-François Guay, Rémi Ménard, Jean-Michel Goury, Serge Bertocchi, Susan Fancher, Jean-Marie Londeix (Ensemble international de saxophones de Bordeaux), Le Quatuor de Saxophones Nelligan, Danish Saxophone Quartet, Xasax, Cuarteto de Saxofones Italica, José Antonio Santos Salas, Miguel Romero Moran, Tong Young, Stéphane Sordet, Jeffrey Vickers, Kenneth Tse, Anubis Quartet, Echo Rogue Quartet and Siam Saxophone Quartet. Lemay has also written for notable musicians and ensembles such as Yoko Hirota, (piano), Yang Jing (pipa), Jean-Guy Boisvert (clarinet), James C. Lebens (trombone), Michel Bettez (bassoon), Christian Robinson (violin), Ensemble vent et percussion de Québec, Ensemble Clavivent, Ensemble Percumania, Estria Woodwind Quintet, Ensemble Musica Nova, Sudbury Symphony Orchestra, Molinari Quartet, Silver Birch String Quartet, Trielen Trio, the New Music Ensemble of the Glenn Gould School, the Ensemble Le Balcon, Proxima Centauri, Contact Contemporary Music and Duo Zephyr.
Lemay holds a doctorate degree in composition from the Université de Montréal where he studied under Michel Longtin, and a master’s degree from Université Laval with François Morel. He also studied at the State University of New York at Buffalo, and has worked with David Felder and taken part in seminars with Brian Ferneyhough, Louis Andriessen, and Donald Erb. In France, he worked with François Rossé in Bordeaux and Georges Apergis at the ATEM in Paris.