Luke Lewis, Christ Church

Composition; The music of Steve Martland and (late-)postmodernism.

Luke Lewis (b.1988) studied composition under Joe Duddell at the University of Salford, Hans Abrahamsen at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, and is now completing a doctorate under the supervision of Robert Saxton and Jonathan Cross at Christ Church, Oxford, with the support of an AHRC/Christ Church Scholarship. He was also mentored by the late Steve Martland; being the final student, and first for many years, that the composer took under his wing.

His works have been performed internationally and recent highlights include a premiere by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, opening the 2014 Pulsar Festival in Copenhagen with the Athelas Sinfonietta, and setting words by the poet Sir Geoffrey Hill for Orkest de Ereprijs in the Netherlands. Alongside concert pieces, he often works with pop artists as a transcriber/arranger and also on his own electronic projects.

In parallel with composing, his written research engages with theories around postmodernism and considers the output of Steve Martland (1954–2013) in relation to them. With the composer’s recent death coming just at a time where the number of voices pronouncing ‘the death of postmodernism’ grows ever louder, a discussion of his music in general and its relation to the phenomenon is apt. With this, owing to the more refined sense of postmodernism that Martland’s and his peers’ music exhibits, leaning on the Mandel/Jameson ideas around ‘late-capitalism’ and postmodernism, the research concludes by considering whether a concept of ‘late-postmodernism’ is constructive.