Bob Cole Conservatory of Music | California State University, Long Beach | College of the Arts

Portrait of Luke HanningtonLuke Hannington


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Luke Hannington's work intentionally flits between the avant-garde and commercial, as indicated by one reviewer's remark: "The least new-music new-music composer writing new-music today."

He was born in Norwood, a suburb of London, in 1968 and raised in nearby Streatham, a rather hefty stone's throw from the birthplace of Arnold Bax. His formative musical influences came from his parents' and brothers' record collection: Walton's Fa├žade, Britten's the Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, and Flanders and Swann's At the Drop of the Hat on one hand; Queen's Night at the Opera, Sparks' Kimono My House, and The Sex Pistol's Never Mind The Bollocks on the other.

His interest in arranging was sparked by his teenage experiments with his brother's four-track cassette recorder while recording songs that never escaped the bedroom stage. In 1990 he moved to Los Angeles to study bass guitar and arranging at the Grove School of Music, at the time the finest commercial music school in the world. There he studied with Dick Grove and encountered many of the foremost jazz arrangers and film composers, including Henry Mancini, David Raksin, Rob McConnell and Bob Florence.

After ten years of work as a freelance arranger, bassist, guitarist and school administrator, Hannington returned to school to pursue a "proper degree" in composition. At the The Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University, Long Beach, he earned a BM and MM in Composition, as well as a MA in Musicology. He is currently preparing to pursue a doctorate in composition.

Intersections between 18th century classical music and contemporary popular music are recurring themes of his work. Hannington has written a sonatina for snare drum, minimalist pieces derived from Bach, and a Prelude and Fugue for a rock band.  His symphony "Hesby Street" utilizes material derived from "Scooby-Doo," Rick James' "Super-Freak," and Haydn's "London" Symphonies.

Although Luke's music is often described as satirical, there is usually serious intent behind the froth. His Five Alice Songs, based on poems from Lewis Carroll's books, contain jokes about porpoises, but are also riddled with observations on humanity's ability to comprehend the divine as well as the nature of insanity. His wind quintet is a meditation on the composer's reaction to depression medication.

His current project is a movie opera, The Inferiority Complex of Old Sippy, a twenty-minute opera that occurs at the same pace of a situation comedy.


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Bob Cole Conservatory of Music
California State University, Long Beach
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