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: Friday Afternoon Songs, 17th June 11am, Aldeburgh Festival


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.


Ned Kelly Field Research

Over the last month I have driven about 2000 kilometers through Australia. This has been an extremely beautiful experience as I have soaked up boundless open plains, bushland and stunning coast. Spending time in Australia’s unique landscape has not been the only reson for the roadtrip, but a two fold one of working with the librettist Peter Goldsworthy in Adelaide and starting field research into Ned Kelly. That said an important part of writing an opera about one of Australia’s cultural icons is, I believe, regaining a sensibility for the country on a large scale and this for me means spending time in different Australia towns, cities and the outback.

The reason for the road trip and the research into Ned Kelly is that the Australian opera I am writting is based on the Ned Kelly story. Peter and I will be taking a very particular angle on this well know historical figure and the events that shaped his life. We will be looking at the feminine of Ned, dressing up (not just in armour but the full range of identities Ned assumed through clothes/costumes/uniforms) and the motivation for his actions coming primarily from a place of protection and devotion to his monther and sisters, hence Ellen Kelly and Kate Kelly will be central figures in our Ned Kelly opera.

After driving through central New South Wales and the western tip of Victoria, I entered South Australia (for the first time, despite growing up in Australia and living here till age 18) and headed south down to Adelaide to work with Peter Goldsworthy. Peter is an accomplished and prolific novelist, poet and librettist and I feel very lucky to have him as my librettist on this opera. This was the first time we had met in person, having spent many hours on Skype over the last year or so, and we got on very well together, which is a pretty key part of any collaboration, you need to like and feel an affinity with your collaborator(s), to some extent at least. We spent the next week working for 3 or 4 hours in the morning and taking lunch together. At the end of this time together we had a detailed structure for the opera, with approximate timings, details on the scenes and some snippets of dialogue and more extended song like material. This is precisly where I wanted us to be at the end of the week so that I could then leave Peter, head back to Sydney and feel secure that we are both on the same page on the content of the opera as Peter now starts to produce the actual libretto text.

Since arriving back in Sydney Peter has produced text for the first scene, a prologue and an intermezzo. So with this the composing has begun and the outlines of the opera’s characters have started to emerge. This very early phase of opera composing is a strange one. You have a feel for the characters but not an entrie grasp of their complete musical/dramatic arch, this will develop, like any piece of music, through the process of composition. I feel that I will come back to this early music for the opera once the piece is more developed and infuse it retrospectively with more details of the character’s musical personalities as they eventually emerge. Or perhaps all of this is already in the seeds of the material that is already on the page, it’s hard to know entirely until the work comes along further, that’s just part of composing.

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

Chasing The Nose. Mixed classical and jazz ensemble.

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.