Luke was born in Somerset and attended the Junior Department of the Royal College of Music (RCM), where he received the Sally Wainwright Woodwind Prize and was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.
Luke continued his studies at the RCM and graduated with a first class bachelor’s degree, supported by an entrance scholarship, a scholarship for achievement and contribution and a Douglas and Hilda Simmonds Award. Whilst at RCM, Luke won the Douglas Whittaker Memorial Prize and twice received the Howarth of London Bassoon Prize in the RCM’s Senior Woodwind Competition.
Luke was subsequently awarded a full scholarship to continue his studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he graduated with a master’s in Orchestral Artistry, the Concert Recital Diploma and won the Needlemakers’ Wind Prize. Luke was kindly supported by The Leverhulme Trust, the Musicians Benevolent Fund, the Countess of Munster Musical Trust and EMI Music Sound Foundation.
Since completing his studies, Luke has played Principal Bassoon with the Orchestra of English National Opera, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, Aurora Orchestra and the London Chamber Orchestra.
As well as touring with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and recording with the London Symphony Orchestra, Luke is an active chamber musician and committed instrumental teacher.
What is your most embarrassing or amusing musical moment?
Oh, there have been so many! A pretty stunning one was my first night on trial for a job with an opera orchestra I’ll not mention the name of. I had left what I thought was a reasonable amount of time to get changed and after putting on a black shirt I was alarmed to find that was the last of the clothes I’d brought. I put my black shoes on and ran round backstage in my mustard coloured shorts exclaiming that I had lost my trousers. Fortunately, about a minute before the overture was played, I was thrown a pair of trousers from the wardrobe department but I don’t think I’ll ever live down the comments and reactions from the rest of the wind section.
What or who inspired you to become a professional musician?
My first teacher, Janet Whitteridge, was the most wonderful influence: having a teacher of that calibre when you are eight years old has been completely invaluable. I feel having a family that encouraged me and my siblings to pursue whatever we love most, has led me to where I am today. And in a strange way, I think the way in which I felt and responded to the world I was in, drew me towards music. Being a shy and sensitive child who was happiest when immersed in something creative and finding that I could do this and communicate all I wanted to express through an instrument.
What do you love about classical music?
It is the music of human emotion. I love that emotion flows throughout every part of its existence. The way written music conveys the thoughts and feelings of a composer and that is then interpreted through a performer’s input of their own emotions, often with direction from a conductor or a soloist who further add their emotions to the mix. All this is presented to an audience as an offering to be absorbed, reacted to or related to and the emotions or emotional state of each individual in an audience, makes a performance an experience which is completely unique to them.