Featured Composer: Luke Howard


Luke studied classical piano as a child before graduating with honours from the Victorian College of the Arts. Amongst others he has worked with Ben Frost, Paul Grabowsky, the Grigoryan Brothers, and Lior.

Luke was twice a finalist in the Montreux Jazz Festival Solo Piano Competition and in 2012 won the Bell APRA/AMCOS award for Best Australian Jazz Song of the Year. Luke has played on over fifty recordings, and has also written music for film and theatre. In 2014 he opened for Benjamin Clementine at The Great Escape in Brighton, UK.

Luke’s music has been described as “totally sublime” (Headphone Commute, February 2014), “absolutely heavenly” (Mary Anne Hobbs, July 2013), and “cinematic in its approach” (The Age, October 2009).

Luke divides his time between Europe and Australia, where he leads the Luke Howard Trio. In 2013 he released the trio album A Dove, A Lion, A Coast, A Pirate along with the Australian Music Prize long-listed record Sun, Cloud. Luke’s score to Where Do Lilacs Come From won Best Music for a Short Film at the 2014 APRA/AMCOS Screen Music Awards.

Luke Howard's new work Faithful Unto Death was premiered in PLEXUS: Progressions on 1 July 2015 at the Salon, Melbourne Recital Centre.

Faithful Unto Death (2015)

This concert is dedicated to Major Doctor Frederick Miller Johnson, who was killed at Gallipoli: Disease through lack of sanitation was a major problem at Gallipoli. Major Johnson was killed while undertaking an inspection as part of his duties as a doctor. He was a surgeon who lived in in St Vincent’s Place South, Albert Park. He had been a captain in the militia medical corps and had practised medicine for some twenty-five years before enlisting in the 6th Field Ambulance on 1 March 1915 at the age of 51. He had studied at Edinburgh and Melbourne Universities. Newly promoted, Major Johnson was killed by a shell explosion at Lone Pine on 29 November.

I wrote this piece in Berlin after reading historian Charles Bean’s account of Major Doctor Frederick Miller Johnson:

These deep saps and shallow tunnels had always given excellent protection against bullets and field-artillery; now that they were bombarded by heavy guns, they proved merely a dangerous trap. The sides and roofs were blown in, burying members of the garrison. In the 24th Battalion fourteen men were thus suffocated. The divisional sanitary officer, Major Johnson, who had been inspecting the Pine when the bombardment started, and who had at once established an improvised aid-post, was smothered, along with the men whom he was tending. Major Johnson is buried at Lone Pine with the epitaph, ‘Faithful Unto Death’.

– Luke Howard