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Our mission is to enable period-instrument musicians to flourish and to bring the joy of live music to communities across the country. 

Our 2021 grants focused on helping ensembles to remain professionally active by supporting projects creating employment for freelance musicians, and enabling them to engage with audiences despite uncertainty and restrictions.
In 2022, our grants prioritised live performances, touring to under-served areas of the UK and helping recently-formed ensembles establish themselves and build capacity, skills and contacts for the future.
Our 2023 grants are extending this support for high-quality, imaginative live performances which will engage larger, more diverse audiences in more regions of the UK, We are also increasing the level of support for emerging artists to help them gain the experience and credibility needed to develop sustainable careers. 
Our grant making is supported by the Continuo Connect digital hub, which is amplifying the impact of our grants and helping the sector thrive in the long term. 

Live early music is engaging and uplifting - and brings communities together 


Continuo Foundation is run by a group of experienced professionals from business, media, law, management consulting, digital marketing, classical music and academia. All members of the team believe in the power of music to enrich lives, and are passionate about the vital role period-instrument ensembles can play in bringing uplifting classical music to local community venues in every region of the country. The CEO, Trustees and Advisory Panel members give their time so that nearly one hundred percent (100%) of your donation benefits freelance musicians and their audiences.  


Supporting ensembles with project grants, prioritising excellence and creation of paid performance opportunities for freelance musicians who have suffered financially and psychologically from Covid-19 cancellations.


Helping ensembles adapt to evolving restrictions and uncertainty around the return of audiences, so they can create projects that will help musicians rebuild their careers and bring early music to all regions of the UK.


Supporting long-term growth in activity and audiences, across a more diverse footprint - both geographically and demographically - through project grants and the Continuo Connect digital hub for early music.


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The UK's tradition of excellence in period music and its virtuosic musicians need to be supported
The UK has been at the forefront of the historical performance movement since the mid-20th century. The sector is comprised of over 100 established and emerging professional ensembles made up of hundreds of freelance musicians, most often playing with several groups.  

The careers of freelance musicians in the UK are precarious - artists are only paid for performing and have little to no protection in case of cancellations. 
The musicians in this sector make a unique contribution to the UK's classical music landscape. These artists’ virtuosity, scholarship and exploration of reconstructed and restored instruments have revolutionised concert life and brought audiences exciting new sound worlds and interpretations of music. In addition to expanding the repertoire by discovering little known composers and works from the last 800 years, these musicians have creatively reimagined and refreshed the way we hear Western classical music. These artists have regularly commissioned contemporary composers to write for their instruments, creating new links between present and past. 
ACADEMY OF ANCIENT MUSIC  © Marco Borggreve   
A sector-wide initiative is the most effective way to help early music flourish in the UK
All UK musicians playing period instruments are freelancers. Despite the gradual fading of the worst effects of the pandemic, musicians continue to face challenges in achieving financial sustainability. A recent Musicians' Census (September 2023) found that 50% of musicians responding earn less than £14,000 per annum. In addition, 44% cited the lack of a sustainable income as a barrier to a long-term career in music. 

these musicians, some of the best ambassadors of classical music in communities across the UK, benefits us all. Investing £200,000 per year in two semi-annual competitive grant rounds over the last 3 years has created a sustained flourishing of creative chamber music projects has benefited 100,000 audiences. 


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newly discovered masterpieces, found in archives and ‘translated’ into modern notation  

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