On Macbeth (Glyndebourne/ROH)

Elegantly creepy, defiantly cool” - Bachtrack

“the orchestral writing is crisp and incisive, conjuring up with imagination the successive atmospheres required for the tragedy’s trajectory.” The Guardian

Next Concert: January 27th 2016, London Sinfonietta, New work. February 8th 2016, Foundling Museum, Foundling Museum Anthem


Handspun, commissioned by ROH2 and premiered at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden as part of Exposure Dance, Feb 2012.

Luke Styles is a composer prolific in opera, the theatre and instrumental music. Over the last four years Luke’s operas including Macbeth and Tycho’s Dream have been performed at Glyndebourne, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and the Vault Festival. These operas have explored diverse worlds including cabaret, war and science fiction, and allowed him to delve into sensual lyricism, humour, chaos and darkness in his music.

Luke has created dance works for the New Music Biennial (performed at the 2014 Commonwealth Games) and circus works together with long time collaborator, aerialist Ilona Jantti. These works display Luke’s belief in pushing new music into areas where it is not usually encountered. Handspun, a contemporary circus work, continues to tour throughout Europe.

In 2014 Luke was signed by IMG Artists following his time as the first Glyndebourne Young Composer in Residence (2011-2014). Luke continues his creative partnerships with organisations in his current role as composer in residence at the Foundling Museum, the first composer to occupy the position since Handel.

Collaborations are central to Luke’s work and this has led to new works with conductors and soloists Vladimir Jurowski and David Pyatt and ensembles such as the London Sinfonietta and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Luke is a former student of Wolfgang Rihm, George Benjamin and Detlev Muller-Siemens. Read more HERE.


Orchestral Composing

Over the past few weeks I have been focusing on a new orchestral commission from the City of London Sinfonia, which will be premiered at their Closer series in the stunningly atmospheric and hip Village Underground, on the 17th of February 2016. The commission is a challenging one. I was asked to arrange a piece of Bach, making sure that it was both recognisably Styles and recognisably Bach. So I choose one of Bach’s most famous organ works (although many say it may not be his), the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor BWV 565. So there could be no mistaking that it is ‘recognisably Bach’.

How have I made this famous work sound like me? Well I’ve done this in a couple of ways. I was lucky enough to be given a percussionist in the orchestral list, so there is a good deal of thumping on drums, wood blocks and tambourines, just to bring out the innate rhythmic funkiness of the piece. I break up the lines in the piece and spread them all over the orchestra and I have taken some of the more expressive dissonant moments and stretched them out, either deep in the low strings or in the stratosphere of high string harmonics.

It has been really fun composing this piece, especially on the back of having written quite a bit for orchestra over the last few years, but always within a dramatic/operatic context. In this work, I have had a lot of fun using the full orchestra and working with familiar material, and I’m pretty sure the orchestra will enjoy playing some well know tunes, that they don’t normally get their hands on AND I hope the audience will enjoy the fugal romp that this piece provides.

Now that I am editing and tidying the orchestra piece, it is time to get on with a new commission from the London Sinfonietta. They have commissioned a solo horn piece from me, which will be premiered on the 27th of January 2016. I am thrilled to be writing for the horn god that is Mike Thompson, having admired his playing on recordings and whilst a student at the Royal Academy of Music, where my wife was one of his horn students. I’ve got some initial ideas for this piece and have written quote a lot for horn in the past. In this piece I am thinking of exploring some extended techniques that Messiaen uses to such beautiful effect in his music and seeing what music these techniques draw out of me.

Purchase: The Girls Who Wished to Marry the Stars from NMC, Here.

Interminable Prelude(2006). Cello Trio

Tycho’s Dream has been shortlisted for a British Composers Award.

To get in touch please contact my agent at IMG. Bridget Canniere.