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: Nov 30th, 19:30, How They Creep, St John’s Smith Square, London.


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.


Skye and Philadelphia

Over the past few weeks I have been doing quite a bit of composer travel. I’ve spent time on the Isle of Skye doing work on a new project for Aldeburgh Music and I have been in Philadelphia for meetings and seeing some of Opera Philadelphia’s new season of operas. Today I’m off to Cornwall for a workshop on my 10 minute Snappy Opera for Mahogany Opera Group and then the first week of October I will be back in Glasgow working with librettist Alan McKendrick again. So lots of moving about. Lots of opera and lots of new projects all underway, though not all officially announced yet.

Skye is an exceptionally beautiful and inspiring place to make work and the people I spent time with and the young people who I worked with in day long composition workshops couldn’t have been better. The young people were engaged and enthusiastic and they generated some wild and wacky ideas in responses to some of my music, Wagner and Handel. The came up with characters that they drew and then wrote poetry about and these characters transformed into short poetic stories. As a group we then turned these stories into songs and at the end of each day the young people had their own song that they had composed with me, the librettist Alan McKendrick and the workshop leader Ellie Moran.

Following on from these workshops Alan and I will use this material that the young people have generated to refine and compose a final version of the song from the various workshops. It will draw together the ideas from all the young people, but also be a work which myself and Alan have had a creative hand in. I think two of my favourite things from the week were the line of text “It was hot and then cold”, this is just completely mysterious and hilarious to me, and the invention of the character Octomonkpig, an animal that is the combination of an Octopus, a monkey and a pig.

Last week I spent 4 very memorable days in Philadelphia. It was my first time to the city and I’m looking forward to more trips there over the next few years. I was there to have some meetings about a new project and to see the premiere of Breaking the Waves, by composer Missy Mazzoli and librettist Royce Vavrek, and the opening of a new production of Turandot. Breaking the Waves has been a big success for Opera Philadelphia and they should be proud of it. It is different from the film, as it could only be and it shows very good and clear vocal writing and a command of a significant three act structure, not an easy thing to get right at all, but Missy takes on a riveting journey.

Opera Philadelphia know how to throw a good party and I attended the Gala opening of Turandot, which involved a red carpet entrance, delicious food, a free bar (a bit dangerous) and a chance to meet lots of their supporters and collaborators. The people I met are hugely enthusiastic and supportive of opera and especially new opera, so the experience couldn’t have been better. The city itself is also fantastic. It is arty and foody, full of murals, good cafes and of course philly cheesesteak, all of which I sampled extensively.

So I’m packing my bags for Cornwall and taking my Snappy opera, The Strange Feast, with me. It is the first time I have written both the libretto and the music. This has been a liberating experience and one that will be good to see if it actually works in the workshops. More 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.