Luke Styles


Custodians of the Sky

A new 40 minute work for Australian singers Michael Smallwood (tenor) and Damien Pass (baritone) and Le Balcon; a flexible amplified orchestra based at Athénée Louis-Jouvet Theatre in Paris.

Days Left

Custodians of the Sky, a commission from Paris ensemble Le Balcon and Australian singers , will be a 40min musical and visual work exploring themes of place and the stars, exploding our notion of the universe through music, poetry and visual projections. A focal point of this will be Astronomy from a uniquely Australian perspective, focusing on the constellations visible from Australia and field recordings from Australian stargazing sites. The work will link all peoples by our shared connection to space and celestial bodies and the work will reference different cultural interpretations of space and the stars.

The work will incorporate a range of poetry along the theme of Astronomy, by predominantly living female Australian poets. The visual aspect will include projection by artists such as Australian David Boyd.

Composing will take place from Jan-Aug 2021. Premiere Oct 2021, Athénée Louis-Jouvet Theatre in Paris.

The premiere production in Paris in October/November 2021 by Le Balcon will be my first performance in France and a major step in my international career. The work will be included and promoted as part of the 2021 AUSTRALIA NOW French Intercultural year and as such will appear alongside work from Bangarra Dance and the Sydney Theatre Company. Appearing alongside these companies will be a significant boost for my career.

Custodians of the Sky represents a new step in my collaborative practice. In an age when barriers are being erected between peoples and national boarders are being closed due to covid-19, this project offers a positive and inclusive international collaboration of artistic voices.

The chance to compose a large scale work for instruments, voices and electronic music is a new artistic opportunity which will develop my practice. The project will fuse my music with a visual element and bring field recordings of Australian sites into my compositional pallet.

I am seeking support for my commission fee to take up this opportunity.

Donations will be used towards a reasonable commission fee for me to create this work. This involves months of pre-compositional work reading and collecting poetry, visiting Australian stargazing sites and making filed recordings and deciding on the structure of the piece. Next the compositional phase will last 6 months and my commission fee represents my entire income for this period.

Any donations will build on initial seed funding from the Australian Embassy in France.

The end result will be a thoroughly researched, developed and executed new musical work. This will then be rehearsed and premiered in Paris by Le Balcon at Athénée Louis-Jouvet Theatre in Paris, with a possible French and Australian tour of the work after the premiere.

Having the time to dedicate my compositional energies entirely to this work will ensure I can make the most of this extraordinary opportunity and make the work the absolute best that it can be.

Live Projects


Luke Styles is a composer, published by G.Schirmer/Wise Music. Luke was the first Glyndebourne Young Composer in Residence, represented by IMG Artists and the first composer in residence at the Foundling Museum since Handel.

Luke’s operas have been performed on the famous Glyndebourne main stage, and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden by the London Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of conductors such as Vladimir Jurowski.

Luke has recently completed his first Australian opera Ned Kelly which premiered to critical acclaim at the 2019 Perth Festival and is listed as a finalist for the 2020 Art Music Awards. Most recently Luke’s song cycle On Bunyah, written for Mark Padmore and the Britten Sinfonia setting poetry by Les Murray, premiered at the Wigmore Hall, London. Luke received a high commendation in the 2019 Paul Lowin Prize, he is currently working on a large scale dance work and a symphonic song cycle.

Looking further ahead Luke will compose two new operas in the UK and USA and orchestral works for European and Australian orchestras, including a new work for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in 2022 as part of their 50 Fanfares Project to reopen the Sydney Opera House.


AET Foundation-The Aldridge Family Endowment



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