youth works

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

Luke is a firm believer in creating new works for young people and the formative role that music can play in the lives of young people. The work's Luke has created to date consist of operatic works and vocal works for young people.

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All Howl At Once (Friday Afternoon Songs) 2017

These Friday Afternoons songs have enabled me to embrace the fun, nonsense, humour, darkness and playfulness of a young person’s fantasy world. One takes the everyday of homework and turns it into a parade of monsters while others investigate and poke fun at annual celebrations of Valentines and Easter. 

Young voices have an immediacy to them that we as adults can’t help but be drawn in by. When this is coupled with fantastical story telling through song, young people can make the absurd believable and both the ludicrous and banal exciting.

I have worked closely with the writer Alan McKendrick on this approach and he has created texts which facilitate the flights of fancy of both my own musical imagination and the young people’s. I have consciously reflected on Britten’s set of Friday Afternoons songs and included in my set two rounds and a number of technical procedures that work so well for young singers (and old ones too) in Britten’s set of songs. It has been an immense pleasure to compose this set of songs, to work with fantastic professional artists and a host of enthusiastic and inspiring young people. BUY the SCORE/PARTS

Instrumentation: Young voices (8 to 18 year olds), piano.


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Foundling Museum Anthem 2016

Created whilst Composer in Residence at the Foundling Museum in London, the first composer to hold this position since Handel) this Foundling Museum Anthem, written for Argyle Primary School students and early music ensemble La Nuova Musica. The work unfolded over the whole museum and tells the story of the Foundling Hospital in music, words and sound.

For the score or more information please contact the composer.

Instrumentation: Theorbo, violin, soprano, youth choir, electronics.


Tycho's Dream (youth opera) 2014

Tycho’s Dream has had a rich and diverse development. When it was first suggested that I might like to write a new youth opera for Glyndebourne, my mind immediately leapt to science fiction, as a genre that I thought would excite the young participants and that fitted my idea of opera working best with fantastical subject matter. I knew that Benjamin Britten had also investigated the idea of a sci-fi community opera, called “Tyco the Vegan”, but never realised the project. The figure of the very real astronomer Tycho Brahe proved fascinating, so I took Tycho along with a range of other crazy fictional ideas to a development week with the young people. We brainstormed, improvised and experimented with my ideas around Tycho and sci-fi, as well as the ideas and imagination of the participants. All of these elements were then filtered through the mind of Peter Cant, the librettist, to create the story that is Tycho’s Dream.

The music of Tycho’s Dream is composed very much for the young people performing it. Strange noises, chain-gang songs and hymns all take flight through the voices of the young performers, with whom I had the chance to workshop the music throughout the year. Renaissance sound worlds combine with mining sounds and a rich percussion and wind section to create the fictional and fantastical worlds on the moon and beyond.

Cast: Youth Chorus 8-19 year olds, soprano, baritone. Instrumentation: Mixed ensemble of professionals and young musicians (3 flutes (1st doubling piccolo), 3 clarinets in B flat (3rd doubling bass clarinet ion B flat), bassoon, percussion (3 players), piano/harpsichord/celesta). Duration: 60 min. BUY the SCORE


Lovers Walk (youth opera) 2012

Lovers Walk is about first relationships. How many of these in reality last? Not many, but they are formative experiences in our teenage years or our early twenties. Lovers Walk addresses four different first relationships, the varying degrees of success and failure of these relationships, the joys and the problems that they contain. In this exploration the music of Lovers Walk is at times joyous, fought, sad and blissful.

The four relationships of Lovers Walk are set in different time periods but united by a common setting, the Lovers Walk (courting path) in a Brighton park. Our four couples all walk this path and all walk the complexities of first relationships. The music of these couples amplifies their differences but also unites them when they are experiencing common first relationship issues. After all how different is love in 1890 and 2060? This is the world of Lovers Walk.

Lovers Walk was my first full chamber opera as Young Composer in Residence at Glyndebourne, and I was delighted that it can be for the youth company. To buy the score please contact the composer via

Composer: Luke Styles Librettist: Stephen Plaice

Cast: 9 young people and youth chorus. Instrumentation: Clarinets, Trumpets, Cello, Piano. Duration: 1hr