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 Performance: Handspun, 29.08.17. Letni Letna Festival Prague CZ


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 continued his creative partnerships with organisations in 2015 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 currently working on two new operas, one for the Perth Festival and another for Opera Philadelphia, with premieres in 2018 and 2021 respectively. Alongside his operatic work Luke is working on a concerto for Double Bass and a Song Cycle for Mark Padmore and the Britten Sinfonia.

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



Since I last checked in here I have done a bit of traveling. Some of it for premieres, some of it for research on the new opera and some of it to start working with soloists on future pieces. As I write this I am back in Sydney, Australia, but Since May I have been to the UK, Vienna and back again.

The trip to the UK was in June to attend the Aldeburgh Festival premiere of my new set of Friday Afternoon Songs, all of which are now free to download and listen to via the song bank!! I’m pleased to say the premiere of the songs went fantastically, with a great performance by The Cardinal Vaughan School under their conductor Scott Price. There were lots of laughs from the audience, so the humour of the songs thankfully came across and the singers seemed to have had a good time singing the songs. They are now out there in the world and have begun to receive a couple of performances with big things planned by a load of choirs throughout the year.

After the Aldeburgh/UK visit I jumped on a plane to Vienna, but just for 1 night, where I caught up with one of my old composition teachers Detlev Mueller-Siemens, caught an all Boulez concert by Klangforum Wien and began working with the double bass soloist Uli Fussenegger on a new Bass Concerto I am writting him. As a former bass player myself, I have been thinking about new works featuring the bass for a long time, but have not had a chance to write one since my very first compositions as a high school student. Uli and I spoke about a range of what I guess you would call extended techniques, sharing experiences but me mainly learning from his rich and creative knowledge of the instrument as well as discussing how the bass can function as a soloist alongside a Symphony Orchestra. The need to amplfy the double bass is a must, but we also talked about the range of orchestration choices when combing a solo bass with a bass section and also how the harmonics and particularly double stops resonate with a large group of instruments. I can’t reveal full details of the commission yet, but Uli and I will be working closely together over the next 10 months or so.

Returning to London form Vienna I had a chance to check in with friends and colleagues and make sure projects for 2018 are on track for when I return and to start the ground work on new projects a couple of years down the line. I then flew back to Australia where I then spent 2 weeks in a very isolated bush retreat. I began Act 2 of my Ned Kelly opera at this bush retreat and it felt like the isolation, the shapes of the bush and the grey and green of the trees somehow worked to imbue the opera with some stylised Australian weirdness, which is what the opera needs as it delves into the strange and unusual aspects of the Ned Kelly story. My aim is to have Act 2 (vocal score) completed in 6 weeks or so, but before then I have a few days of workshops in Perth on what I have composed so far. This will also be a time to work with librettist, director and conductor on the work. I can’t wait for this as theatre is a collaborative game and the work always gets stronger when working with talented collaborators.

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

Macbeth premiered in 2015 at Glyndebourne and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden.

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

Chasing The Nose. Mixed classical and jazz ensemble.