GRANT ROUND 3 ANNOUNCED

Continuo had an incredible response to our announcement of this £100,000 grant round in January 2022. We received applications from 65 different period-instrument ensembles for grants to support projects taking place between April and September 2022.

Round 3 aimed to encourage projects across the UK, particularly in underserved regions, and the touring of programmes. We also created a new eligibility category designed to support more recently formed ensembles which may have lacked the performance history needed to apply successfully for our 2021 grants. Continuo was keen to help these groups, hindered by Covid restrictions and cancellations from their start, to gain performing experience and visibility. 

The 25 Round 3 grant recipients are: Apollo's CabinetBaroque In The North, Brecon BaroqueConsone QuartetDunedin ConsortEnsemble AugellettiEnsemble HesperiEnsemble MolièreInstruments of Time and Truth, Irlandiani PlayersIstante CollectiveLa SerenissimaLinarol Consort of ViolsManchester BaroqueMonteverdi String Band, Noxwode Baroque, Pocket SinfoniaRose Consort of ViolsRoyal BaroqueSarabandSirinuSpiritatoThe Prince Regent's BandThe Spinacino Consort and The Telling.

Full details of the Round 3 grantee ensembles and their projects can be viewed here
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APPLICATION PROCESS

Applicants were invited to request amounts ranging from £2,000 to £10,000 to support UK projects scheduled to take place between April and September 2022. For recently formed ensembles (ca. June 2019 - June 2021), we prefer to support concerts rather than recording projects. 
For example, grant proceeds could be used by a period-instrument ensemble to:
 
  • provide the funding to mobilise a performance at risk of being cancelled 
  • fund a new project where there is uncertainty about audience size 
  • fund a chamber recital series
  • tour an existing programme to new UK locations
  • fund the recording of new repertoire
  • create a filmed concert which can be used to generate further touring opportunities
Grant requests could be for up to a maximum of 90% of the Project Cost. Applicants were asked to provide a credible plan for the complementary project funding.

SELECTION CRITERIA

ELIGIBILITY
Eligible ensembles were UK-based professional groups of at least three musicians playing period instruments, or faithful replicas, and focusing primarily on music repertoires from the Middle Ages up until the early 19th century. The proposed project could include vocalists, as long as the instrumental ensemble applying had at least three instrumentalists. Projects could also include new works commissioned for period instruments or combine early and contemporary repertoires in their programmes.

For avoidance of doubt, existing Continuo Foundation grantees were eligible to apply. 
EVALUATION
The main objective of our grants is to mobilise projects of outstanding artistic merit which create work for as many freelance period musicians as possible, and which bring period-instrument music to engage new audiences across the UK. The key criteria for assessing applications were:
 
  • the artistic merit and originality of the proposed project; 
  • the number of instrumentalists engaged and the proportion of the grant funds dedicated to artists’ fees;
  • the extent to which new live or virtual audiences will be engaged; and
  • for recently formed ensembles, the extent to which the project proposed is realistic and will contribute to establishing the group's credentials and visibility.  
 
In choosing which projects to support, in addition to the considerations above, there was an assessment of the artistic excellence and recent activity of each ensemble. For the avoidance of doubt, ensembles did not need to meet all of the criteria below; the list is designed to give a sense of the areas being looked at by the Advisory Panel and Trustees in their decision-making. These include: 
  • public performances since 2019, including those cancelled due to Covid-19
  • critically acclaimed recordings (including CDs, broadcasts, videos, etc.) since 2019
  • support of early-career instrumentalists and vocalists 
  • innovative programming, including works by diverse composers 
  • diversity of performers and administrators 
  • involvement in outreach and education projects 
  • registered UK charity 
The Trustees also considered the quality of the application itself, as a reflection of the ensemble's ability to carry out the project to a high standard.
RECENTLY FORMED ENSEMBLES - EVALUATION CRITERIA
For ensembles formed between ca. June 2019 and June 2021, the Advisory Panel considered the areas set out below:
  • evidence of public performances (including any that were cancelled) 
  • background information on the musicians comprising the ensemble
  • the rationale for the formation of the group 
  • repertoire being explored, aspirations, etc.
The applicants in this category were asked to submit a 10-minute, unedited video of the ensemble performing together. This could be an extract from a live-streamed concert, or part of a performance filmed on a smart phone. If there is no film footage from performances, we would consider a video from a rehearsal. The video did not need to be professionally filmed - we looked for the quality of the ensemble playing, not the quality of the video. 
 
NB - In order to be eligible, an ensemble must have had at least one public performance before 31st December 2021.