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: July 17th, Passacaille, Boughton House, Northamptonshire


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



Last week saw the premiere of a Horn Quartet that I composed in 2009. It felt like time travel. I was taken back to the composer I was 7 years ago to hear what my interests were. They were odd, some still interest me and some things I have moved on from. The piece is called Variations on a Room and was written in a flurry after the premiere of a much larger piece for wind orchestra, which was a commission from my old university in Karlsruhe Germany. The larger piece is called Rooms and I loved the voicing of the horn parts in this piece. So when I got home from the premiere I composed my Variations on a Room taking the harmony and voicing of the horns and expanding this on a larger scale. The resulting piece has virtually no melody and the thinest slithers of thematic material. Instead it functions to build it’s shape and progressions of tension and release through the work’s harmony and a regular 6/8 undulating pulse, resulting in ever shifting alignment between the four horns.

The Royal Academy of Music Horn Ensemble did a fantastic job learning what is actually quite a difficult piece and it was fun working with horn extrodinaire Mike Thompson again (see previous blog). Mike coaches the ensemble and they make a thrilling sound.

I am currently in composition lock down mode working very intensley on a new dance piece (Passacaille). The work will be performed at Boughton House by musicians from Les Arts Florissants, counter-tenor James Laing and Paris dance company Les Corps Eloquents. It is part of a growing collection of recent works of mine which I am calling Neo-Baroque. What I mean by this is that the works have a strong sense of the Baroque (through the use of a continuo section, the melodic and rhythmic language and when singers are involved through the use of arioso, receit and ornamentation/improvisation) but the works are also firmly my own voice. My harmony, my melodies, my phrasing but all within something that feels Baroque. We have Neo-Classical (Stravinsky) and also at times Neo-Elizabethan (Britten), but I am interested in the Baroque.

This new work has been commissioned by Boughton House and the event is hosted by the Duke of Buccleuch. The music and dance collection at the Boughton House holds many of the dances that Handel was commissioned to write for the Kings Theatre in London. This project will see a combination of Handel’s dances, Handel arias and my new ‘Neo-Baroque’ dance and song which takes Handel’s own Passacaille (from Il Pastor Fido as well as in a number of other pieces) as it’s point of departure. The choreographer and dancer Hubert Hazebroucq has the task of weaving all of these various strains together into a cohesive performance. I am currently in close collaboration with Hubert, the counter-tenor James and the violinist Emmanuel as I write the piece, which will call on the musicians and singers especially to bring all of their Baroque performance practice to this work and combine it with my own compositional voice.

This interest in ‘Neo-Barque’ will not end with this piece. There is a much bigger work on the horizon which all of these experiments and smaller works are building towards. Stay in touch for more details soon.

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

Interminable Prelude(2006). Cello Trio

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.