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: May 20th, 19:00, Variations on a Room, Royal Academy of Music.


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.



It has been an eventful month since I last checked in. Handspun received some great reviews in the Finnish press from its packed performances at the Oulu’s Music Festival and Ilona (the aerialist/choreographer of Handspun) and I are working on early ideas for our new piece. I have finished my Piano Trio for the Fidelio Trio and the next step in this project will be to attend rehearsals ahead of performances later in the year. A big event this month though has been a week spent in Aldeburgh leading a course I called ‘Music as Theatre’ with the Aldeburgh Young Musicians (AYM).

For my ‘Music as Theatre’ course I was able to take with me three brilliant artists; director/writer Peter Cant, recorder virtuoso Gail Macleod and actress Kate Burdette. We spent a week with the exceptionally talented AYMs looking at the idea that music is theatre and if we look at the performance of music in this way, we might start to see music in movement, images and shapes, and the reverse. So together we created new works using a movement or an object as the starting point, text as a structural devise and eventually, different pieces of music, texts and physicality altogether to create transdisciplinary performances. This approach to making work is very close to my heart and informs all of what I do. That is not to say I only make music theatre works, far from it. What it implies is that as a composer I need to be aware of everything that is taking place in a performance in order that I write music which engages with (or is at least aware of) the parameters that the audience will be experiencing when attending a performance of my work. If I decide to make a concious connection between a sound and a movement within a performance, this is an extension of an existing relationship that already exists. For instance, the way a performer walks on stage influences the way an audience receives his/her performance. Not to mention the way a performer moves whilst playing.

I also got to try out some experiements with my own music during the week. For one of the tasks I gave the AYMs the text and music from two of my duos for actors and musicians from Play (after Beckett). What I asked the AYMs to do was to take this text and music, combine it with other existing pieces, get composers to write new music derived from my text and then craft all these elements into a new work. It was facinating to see this process take place, as my text generated new compositions and my own music was integrated and blended with so many new ideas. This was a very rewarding process to experience the transformation of my own ideas and how they could be part of the generation of entirely new ideas.

I am currently doing research into Baroque dances, from France and those that appear in Handel operas. This is all in preparation for a new dance work which will be premiered in July. Details to be announced soon.

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

Interminable Prelude(2006). Cello Trio

Tycho’s Dream was shortlisted for a 2015 British Composers Award.

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