chamber music

Chamber Music published and available for purchase from G.Schirmer/Music Sales and the Australian Music Centre

Luke is a prolific composer of chamber music in a host of different instrumental combinations, from string quartet to jazz and classical mixed ensembles.

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On Bunyah 2018

This new song cycle for tenor Mark Padmore (and the Britten Sinfonia in a chamber formation of string quartet and piano) set’s a series of 10 poems by Australian poet Les Murray, from his most recent collection, On Bunyah.

The cycle charts a loose narrative and progression of themes, where the tenor can be identified as a 'poet farmer' character. This central figure gives voice to many aspects of Australia (the bush, land, kangaroos, fire, death, machinery and the 20/21st Century) without sentimentality. The distinctive Australian flavor of this collection of poems embraces the  similar experiences and challenges of other rural communities with the ‘poet farmer’ functioning as both a rural and modern day ‘every-man’.  SCORE/PARTS available in late 2019.

Instrumentation: Tenor, Piano, String Quartet. Duration: 30mins


Styles’s On Bunyah is magnificent and just like the poem is raw, not polite. His writing for tenor, piano and string quartet is terse and dissonant and stirs turbulent feelings in the listener, from idle reminiscence and humour to horror as a “poet farmer” looks back on a lifetime spent in the bush, ultimately to witness its destruction by mechanised land clearing.
— The Australian – Graham Strahle

Motion and Ritual 2018

Inspired by the Bartok Sonata for the same players (but employing different percussion instruments) this work explores forward moving fast music, octaves and waves of trills in its two outer movements. In the center of the work stands a still ritual like music, a moment of strange calm before the music takes off again with a new harmonic density. Commissioned by the American Piano Duo. BUY the SCORE/PARTS

Instrumentation: 2 Pianos, 2 Percussionists. Duration: 12min


Memories Of A Foreign Land Called Home 2016

This is a work directly inspired by my Australian experience. The work moves through a number of states that in purely abstract terms recall my impressions of the Australian landscape. These include the soil, tufts of grass, the land as it approaches the coast, sailing ships, the sand of the beaches and the deserts and finally the red interior of Australia. I have recalled these images and used them to underpin the work in two ways: Firstly as memories of the Australia I grew up in as a child. Secondly by revisiting the paintings of Sidney Nolan, an artist who I return to frequently and who I find embodies the iconic and the sublime in the Australian landscape. Commissioned by the Fidelio Trio with funds from the RVW Trust. BUY the SCORE/PARTS

Instrumentation: Piano Trio (Vl, Vcl, Pn). Duration: 15min


Passacaille 2016

In part based on a Passacaille by Handle. Commissioned by Boughton House. Premiere 17th July 2016 at Boughton House England. To buy the score please contact the composer via

Instrumentation: Baroque Ensemble; Violin, Oboe, Harpsichord, Counter-Tenor. Duration: 10mins



Bodice and Ribbons 2015

Melodic weaving, twisting and turning engulfs the flute and oboe at the start of Bodice and Ribbons, creating ever changing lines that seem to be familiar but out of shape and tied up. The strings punctuate this play with increasing rhythmic drive eventually spilling over into interlocking pizzicato grooves. We then pass into a seemingly new musical world of expressive scales evoking the work's baroque links and reminding us of the melodic intricacies that started the work. The work ends with a culmination of the harmonic language that the piece has expressed. Commissioned by the Inventi Ensemble. BUY the SCORE/PARTS

Instrumentation: Flute, oboe, violin, viola, cello. Duration: 12 min.


Fear of Counting Forward 2014

An unusual and exciting commission both in terms of its instrumentation and brief. The work brings together a saxophone quartet, a wood block and harpist as a soloist, making the work a type of mini harp concerto. The brief was to fuse together medieval plainchant with my own compositional voice. This was a perfect springboard to compose an energetic, soloistic work that could be seen as a set of variations, without ever stating in its original form, the medieval chant on which the entire work is based. The wood block insists on a continual march forward and the saxophone quartet urges harmonic progression beyond the past, but there is always a lurking fear of counting forward. BUY the SCORE/PARTS

Instrumentation: Harp, percussion, saxophone quartet. Duration: 11 min.


The Girls Who Wished to Marry the Stars 2013

This theatrical new work (described as a mini dance opera) by Luke Styles features experimental vocal trio Juice and Trish Clowes' jazz/classical ensemble Tangent, performing alongside three live dancers. Blurring the boundaries between dancer and musician, this evocative piece retells a Native Canadian folk tale in a playful, highly dynamic way.  BUY the SCORE/PARTS

Commissioned by Juice as part of the New Music Biennial (PRS for Music Foundation). Premiered 13.02.14 LICA (Lancaster). Performed at the Village Underground, London as part of Emulsion III 29th May 2014. Performed at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London 6th July 2014. Performed at the Commonwealth Games Glasgow, 2nd August 2014.

Instrumentation: Vocal trio (SSA), cello, saxophone, electric guitar, double bass, drum kit. Duration: 12 min.


Ripples of Como 2013

This three-movement work was commissioned by the Royal Northern Sinfonia's principle clarinetist Timothy Orpen. The brief was to write a new work for clarinet and string quartet that could sit alongside the Mozart and Brahms quintets and perhaps contain a movement, which the soloist could play alone (this became the central 2nd movement for solo clarinet). In the week before starting to write this piece I found myself on holiday on Lake Como celebrating my wife's 30th birthday. The water, the Alps, the small villages on Lake Como and the occasion itself all fed into my thoughts about this piece and although not in a literal way, have come to be very connected with the piece itself. BUY the SCORE/PARTS

Instrumentation: Clarinet, 2 violins, viola, cello. Duration: 17 min.



Chasing the Nose 2012

An energetic work that sets Bass Clarinet within a world of jazz and chattering cello and oboe. The piece is one of the first Emulsion commissions and marks the start of my exploration of how to combine jazz musicians and classical musicians, using this format to expand my own compositional thinking and language. BUY the SCORE/PARTS

Instrumentation: Oboe, cello, tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, jazz ensemble (drums, bass, guitar). Duration: 9 min.



How They Creep 2011

How They Creep; takes the second stanza from E. A. Poe's A Dream Within A Dream. I have embarked on a piece that has at it's heart the combination of two voices and how they are supported and at times directed by the instruments around them. I have been largely influenced by Benjamin Britten's Canticles whilst writing this piece. BUY the SCORE/PARTS

Instrumentation: Mezzo-soprano, tenor (OR Soprano and Mezzo-Soprano), flute, clarinet, violin, cello. Duration: 4 min.


Shimmers 2011

The title of this work reflects the idea that chords can shimmer. The tension between notes when played together causes varying degrees of resistance between them, the result of which is a type of shimmer. This image is also one that I think of when looking at waves and the play of light on water. The context of the premiere of this work and the commission for an Australian ensemble immediately evoked ideas of water, which I also intimately connect with my hometown, Sydney. The piece shimmers, in different ways throughout, and then, it simply passes away. BUY the SCORE/PARTS

Instrumentation: Flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, horn. Duration: 6 min.


Stride 2011

This is an ensemble work with virtuosic writing for violin and piccolo. The piece takes its name from the sound of the Stride piano. BUY the SCORE/PARTS

Instrumentation: Flute (doubling piccolo), oboe (doubling cor anglais), bass clarinet in B flat, violin, viola, cello. Duration: 7 min.


A Stratagem for Light 2010


Bringing together voices and recorders fusing their similarities and playing on their differences. Taking up the recurrent themes of light and dark in the text by the London poet Jacob Sam-La Rose, the work moves progressively from a state of lightness to increasing darkness. This movement is most tangible in the shifting instrumentation of each of the twelve movements, but its traces can be found throughout the work in a conflict of percussive versus direct sounds or the clarity versus clouding of a harmonic pallet. BUY the SCORE/PARTS

Instrumentation: Recorder quintet, 2 sopranos, alto. Duration: 24 min.



A Stratagem for Light Without Words 2011

A Stratagem for Light Without Words is a version of A Stratagem for Light for recorders only. It includes arrangements of movements from A Stratagem for Light with voices for recorders. BUY the SCORE/PARTS

Instrumentation: Recorder quintet (2 descants, 2 trebles, bass). Duration: 20 min.


Facets of a False Anthem 2011

This four-movement string quartet is based around the Australian folk song Waltzing Matilda. The song underlines much of the harmony and melodic writing in the piece, though this is often hidden deep below the surface of the music. Having become a British citizen in 2011 I wanted to create a work that fused my new nationality with that of my place of birth. BUY the SCORE

Instrumentation: 2 violins, viola, cello. Duration: 12 min.


Slogan 3, 2009

Slogan 3 is part of a collection of works (Slogan 1 for Violin and Viola. Slogan 2 for Quintet) that are composed along the same basic principles; A fast movement or section followed by a slow movement or section, plus a common approach to harmony, in which both parts of the work explore the same harmonic territory but with differing approaches and ramifications. The work does not have a conscious programme which it follows nor does it attempt to address ideas or concepts. BUY the SCORE/PARTS

Instrumentation: Clarinet in E flat/clarinet in B flat, violin, piano. Duration: 11 min.


Slogan 2, 2009

See the description above. BUY the SCORE/PARTS

Instrumentation: Flute (doubling piccolo), clarinet in B flat, bass clarinet in B flat, marimba, piano. Duration: 8 min.


Slogan 1, 2009

See the description above. BUY the SCORE/PARTS

Instrumentation: Violin, viola. Duration: 6 min.



Variations on a Room 2009

A horn quartet. Can also be played with multiple players on each part.  BUY the SCORE/PARTS

Instrumentation: 4 French Horns.


Spring Song Cycle 2008

Seven pieces for soprano, horn, piano and soprano quartet, setting poetry by George, Hölderlin, Uhrland and O'Hara. The Spring and Nature exist as central themes of the work although these are very much hidden in the work and only very occasionally rise to the surface. Lively and slow movements exchange with an optional movement for soprano quartet creating a subtle link to Les Angelus by Debussy. BUY the SCORE/PARTS

Instrumentation: Soprano, French horn, piano (includes optional movement for 4 sopranos). Duration: 20 min.



BAWN 2008

Energetic duo for flute and sax. Two instruments that move in counterpoint, against one another and together. The two instruments create different playing spaces which they explore until these spaces are exhausted. BUY the SCORE/PARTS

Instrumentation: Flute, Tenor Saxophone. Duration: 8 min.


String Trio 2007

This piece is concerned with possibilities. Musical possibilities that are conceivable but remain out of reach or they consistently present themselves as a struggle to attain. Herein lies the tension of the piece. There is a fight to reach that which is perhaps not possible. How do we try and reach that which is beyond us? The music evolves, it tries to change, becomes something new so as to access new possibilities for itself. This attempt to change is in vain, it cannot, it is another struggle that provides tension and an evasive resolution. BUY the SCORE/PARTS

Instrumentation: Violin, viola, cello. Duration: 12 min.


Besuc(h) 2007

A solo line developed into an ensemble piece.

The ensemble tries in various ways to develop the material.

The attempts play out the time.


Instrumentation: Flute, clarinet in B flat, violin, cello, percussion. Duration: 7 min.


Percussion Trio with Piano 2007


Instrumentation: Percussion (3 players), piano. Duration: 10 min.


Three Stages 2007

This work for recorder Quintet aims to create three clear musical images. The contents of these images tries to become more than the sum total of its parts and develop. This attempt or number of attempts is though unsuccessful and the music has nothing but its emptiness to fall back on. BUY the SCORE/PARTS

Instrumentation: 5 recorders. Duration: 11 min.


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Interminable Prelude 2006

A driving angular energetic cello trio with moments of serene stillness and calm. BUY the SCORE/PARTS

Instrumentation: 3 cellos. Duration: 9 min.



Previously, Now and Before 2005

This work is comprised of the sound world of the environment in which the performance is taking place with the music from a live violin. Both fields of material are used to explore ideas of immediate experience and the role of location with its sonic identity shaping the performance. Contact the composer for more details.

Instrumentation: Violin, Electronics. Duration: 15 min.


For Four Conductors 2004

For four unaccompanied Conductors. Contact the composer for more details.