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Luke Styles

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Luke Styles is a prolific Australian composer, published by Music Sales’ G.Schirmer Australia, who previously had been one of the few composers represented by IMG Artists. Luke’s recent successes have included his Aldeburgh Festival 2017 début with his large work All Howl At Once; his sixth opera Ned Kelly premiered in February 2019 at the Perth Festival and his song cycle, On Bunyah, written for Mark Padmore and the Britten Sinfonia premiered at the Wigmore Hall, London. This was followed by its May 2019 Australian premiere at the Coriole Music Festival receiving wide critical acclaim:


“Styles’ On Bunyah is magnificent, and just like the poems is raw, not polite. His writing for tenor, piano and string quartet is terse and dissonant and stirs turbulent feelings in the listener. – Graham Strahle, The Australian


From 2011-2014 Luke was the first Glyndebourne Young Composer-in-Residence, and in 2015 the first Composer-in-Residence since Handel at London’s Foundling Museum. At Glyndebourne, Luke composed two chamber operas and two youth operas, which were performed on the Glyndebourne main stage and at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of conductors such as Vladimir Jurowski. He says of his time at Glyndebourne, “They believed, and I think rightly, that you only learn this craft of writing operas if you spend time in the opera house, in the theatre. That’s what Mozart and Handel did, and other composers as well – being in the theatre and learning about stagecraft”.


His cabaret opera Unborn in America found an ideal home in London’s grimy cutting-edge Vaults Festival. Alongside his operatic work, Luke also wrote new works for the London Sinfonietta, the 2014 Commonwealth Games and members of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.


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. 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 he also 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 Philharmonic 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 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.


A recipient of many awards and prizes, Luke has been awarded the inaugural PRS Foundation Composers Fund (2016),the prestigious Wolfgang-Rihm Scholarship in 2008 and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Scholarship in 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.


“I feel a lot of my Australian identity in what I write. I would say it’s the bold, bright colours of Australia, the youthfulness, the confidence – all of that is poured into the music” – Luke Styles


Luke recently wrote a new Oboe Concerto, Neon Highway for chamber orchestra which will be performed in Scotland by premier new music ensemble Red Note at the Sound Festival in Aberdeen on 1st November 2019. Other performances of this work include Melbourne, Australia with the Arcko Symphonic Ensemble; Seville, Spain with Taller Sonoro; and London, England with the Riot Ensemble.

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