I was born in Edgware but grew up in a small village in rural Suffolk. My house was a noisy one with two loud sisters - one older, one younger (ham in the sandwich) - and music was playing all of the time. There was lots of Stevie Wonder, David Bowie and an unruly amount of George Michael (Mum’s influence). My dad is really into jazz and there was lots of Bill Evans and Art Blakey. One of my favourite records he would play was Satchmo and the Duke - the first track was Duke’s Place, a famous reworking of C Jam Blues, and there’s a particularly belting clarinet solo on it by Barney Bigard. I’m pretty sure that’s when I first thought I wanted to play the clarinet.
Growing up and through high school I would play in lots of different styles and ensembles but I never really found a path that resonated with me. It was only during my time at Birmingham Conservatoire studying with Joanna Patton where I really started to find my musical voice. After gaining my bachelor’s in Birmingham I joined the Royal Academy of Music where I graduated with distinction in an MA in 2019.
I have enjoyed a positive start to my freelance career. I have performed with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Philharmonia. I’m really excited to be joining Southbank Sinfonia in 2020 and am looking forward to some of the challenges and enriching opportunities the ensemble will provide.
Royal Academy of Music
Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
If you weren’t a musician, what would you be?
When I was small I wanted to be the goalkeeper for Ipswich Town (set yourself achievable goals), but now I’d love to be a chef. I love cooking, you can be creative and there are endless possibilities as long as you bear the principles of good food in mind. I think I would love the intensity of a kitchen mid-service and I find it so satisfying to do small things really well. I’m getting quite hungry writing this…
What’s your most memorable moment as a musician?
A few years ago I saw a concert with The British Paraorchestra in collaboration with the CBSO in Birmingham. It was an amazing concert that challenged my perception of what a modern orchestra is and the role it plays in the community. The group celebrated the distinctive qualities of the musicians; they weren't just performers, they were composers, improvisers and collaborators that found ingenious ways to combine their collective musical experiences. Looking around the hall, the audience was filled with people from all different walks of life, yet there was a powerful sense of unity over a love for music. To witness such a diverse group of musicians deliver high quality classical music in such an accessible way was so powerful. Classical music needn’t be exclusive - there is huge potential and real-world applicability for projects that bring communities together based on a shared appreciation of music.
Luke is a member of the 2020-2021 fellowship.