biography

 
 

Luke Styles is a composer, represented by IMG Artists. In 2017 he received his Aldeburgh Festival début with his large work All Howl At Once and in November 2018 his new work, On Bunyah, will premiere at the Wigmore Hall, London. From 2011-2014 Luke was the first Glyndebourne Young Composer in Residence and in 2015 the first composer in residence at London’s Foundling Museum since Handel. At Glyndebourne, Luke composed two chamber operas and two youth operas, which were performed on the Glyndebourne main stage and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, by the London Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of conductors such as Vladimir Jurowski. His cabaret opera Unborn In America, found an ideal home in London’s grimy cutting edge Vaults Festival and his next two operas will premiere in Australia and the USA respectively. Alongside his operatic work Luke has found time to write new works for the London Sinfonietta, the 2014 Commonwealth Games and members of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Luke is currently composing a 30 minute song cycle for tenor Mark Padmore and the Britten Sinfonia, setting poetry by Les Murray. The new song cycle will premiere at Wigmore Hall London in November 2018 as part of a UK tour. His future projects include new operas, circus work, concertos and chamber music.

Luke began his composition training with a Bachelor of Music (composition) degree at the Royal Academy of Music London (graduating with honours in 2005, in 2015 Luke was made an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music). Following this Luke went on to postgraduate studies with Wolfgang Rihm at the Hochschule für Musik Karlsruhe, Germany (funded by a full DAAD scholarship), with George Benjamin at King’s College London (funded by an Association for Cultural Exchange Scholarship), with Detlev Müller-Siemens at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Vienna and Luke completed a PhD at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance with Michael Finnissy. 

Throughout his career Luke has been heavily involved in creating collaborative and multi-disciplinary works. These have included works for dancers and circus performers, in the form of Handspun, commissioned by the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and subsequently produced in Oslo, Helsinki, Prague, Stockholm and London. Luke has created silent-film scores for the British Film Institute and Karlsruhe Stummfilm Tage (Germany) and works for musicians and actors for Kings Place (London) and the Werkraum Festival (Germany).

Luke has collaborated with many of the world’s top soloists and ensembles including tenor Mark Padmore, hornist David Pyatt, violinist Matthew Truscott, City of London Sinfonia, Britten Sinfonia, London Sinfonietta, London Philarmonic Orchestra, Les Arts Florissants, BBC Singers, Ensemble Modern, Klangforum Wien and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. His music has featured at festivals including the Wien Modern, Aldeburgh Festival, Glyndebourne Festival, Perth International Arts Festival and the Darmstadt International Festival for New Music. Major performance venues of Luke’s music include the Sydney Opera House, Glyndebourne, the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Melbourne Recital Centre, Finnish Music Centre and the Vienna Concert Hall

Luke has been the recipient of many awards and prizes, from the inaugural PRS Foundation Composers Fund (2016) to the prestigious Wolfgang-Rihm Scholarship 2008 and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Scholarship, 2006/07. His opera Tycho’s Dream was shortlisted for a 2015 British Composer’s Award and his politically charged satirical cabaret opera Unborn In America won him the Stephen Oliver Award 2013. In 2018 Luke was made a represented artist of the Australian Music Centre.

Luke was co-founder and co-artistic director of the Emulsion Festival (2012-2014) and used his background as a jazz bassist to bring together jazz and contemporary classical musicians for 3 festivals at the Village Underground, Kings Place and the Vortex, with broadcasts on BBC Radio3 and recordings (including his works) on the NMC label. In 2009 Luke formed his own contemporary music organisation Ensemble Amorpha, which he led until 2016. Multidisciplinary projects and work outside the concert hall underpinned his vision, with events at the Institute of Contemporary Art, the British Film Institute, the Vaults Festival and the Village Underground. As artistic director of Ensemble Amorpha Luke was producer, fundraiser, administrator, negotiator, marketer, accountant, manager and conductor all rolled into one.

Luke has been awarded scholarships to take part in various courses throughout Europe and Asia where he has worked with composers such as Brian Ferneyhough, Harrison Birtwistle, Marco Stroppa and Gunnar Eriksson. Luke was also part of the 2010/2011 Jerwood Opera Writing Programme at Aldeburgh Music.

As an academic and teacher Luke’s research is focused on collaboration with artists in other disciplines and has seen him published in the 2016 Contemporary Music Review (Vol, 35,). Whilst in Australia in 2017 Luke lectured at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music and Adelaide University. This builds on his experience as a lecturer in composition in the UK where he has lead masterclasses, courses and tutorials at the Royal Academy of Music, York University, The Guildhall, Kings College London, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and Aldeburgh Music. From 2009 – 2018 Luke was a teacher of composition and musicianship at the Junior Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.

 
 
Unborn In America is brave in its scope and takes a chance. Librettist / director Peter Cant and composer / conductor Luke Styles don’t short change their audience and present a show that is gutsy and pinged with political rhetoric without being preachy. … There is a wildness to this unusual piece that is as interesting as it is ridiculously funny.
— The New Current - Jello Biafra