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Composer Luke Styles on writing his new Oboe Concerto for sound festival 2019

Since returning to my desk I have been working on my Oboe Concerto and am just about finished. It is in three movements and encompasses a specific range of oboe material and musical qualities. These are broadly divided into fast music in movements I. and II. And slow music in movement III. In the two outer movements the oboe delves into its melodic and vocal qualities with other individual instruments joining in this form of expression also. In the central movement a move overtly rhythmic drive dominates, hinting at Spanish influences but eventually transforming into large blocks of harmonic information set against the oboe’s melodic and angular solo lines.

I have loved composing this work, my first concerto (well I did compose a recorder concerto of a sort back in 2005/2006, but that’s a while ago now and a very different work) and have really caught the concerto bug, with a potential two new concerts in the pipe line. What I have really enjoyed is placing a solo voice at the center of the work, much like a voice in an opera, and crafting the world around this voice so as to join and be part of what it is saying/sounding/expressing yet giving it the right degree of space it needs to remain a solo voice. This challenge alone (a pretty standard concerto one, but approached by composers in a myriad of ways) is enough to unleash the music of the piece and it is something I am now craving more of.

The World Premiere of the work will be given by soloist Ben Opie on the 25th of October 2019 in Melbourne (more details to follow soon), then it’s up to Scotland/Aberdeen for the European Premiere at the Sound Festival given by Red Note Ensemble on the 1st of November, not too long after that it’s off to Spain for the Spanish premiere on the 24th of January 2020 to be given by Taller Sonoro and soloist Sarah Roper. Later in 2020 the piece will see a London and German performance.

I have collaborated closely with the soloist Ben Opie on the composition on the work, really writing to his sound and speaking regularly to him about the work as it has grown and taken shape. I have also shared thoughts and ideas, and received helpful input from the other soloist Sarah Roper as well, whose individual take on the work has been feed into its composition. This collaboration with a performer (in particular Ben) has been an extension of my collaborative work with artists in other fields, singers, jazz musicians and early music performers. As yet I haven’t collaborated quite so closely with classical musicians, but I think this is changing and I look forward to making it an ingrained part of my work.

A big piece of news that has been announced recently is that I have signed a global publishing agreement with G. Schirmer/Music Sales. I’m extremely excited about this new step in my compositional life and there is a press release you can dip into HERE."

Luke Styles

Read this blog in full and find out more about Luke Styles here: https://www.lukestyles.com/

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