To support a flourishing historical performance sector, sustaining the careers of its virtuosic freelance musicians, creating opportunities for the next generation of artists entering the field and widening access to performances for communities across the UK.
Without urgent help, this once-thriving sector could be permanently damaged by Covid-19 restrictions. Our immediate aim is to help period-instrument ensembles of all sizes to survive by mobilising artistic projects creating employment for musicians. Our long term aim is to provide a new centralised resource for connecting ensembles, musicians, audiences, and venues in order to grow the UK's historical performance sector and preserve its celebrated tradition of excellence.
Our musical heritage is at stake
Continuo Foundation is managed by a group of experienced professionals from business, media, academia and classical music. All members of the team are passionate about the vital importance of the UK's historical performance sector and are giving their time so that 100% of donations will go directly to benefit ensembles and freelance musicians. We will tailor our grant-making to the evolving needs of period-instrument ensembles, invest in technology to create a central shared resource for the sector, and develop innovative ways of operating in a post-Covid environment.
Supporting ensembles with grants to mobilise artistic projects, prioritising excellence and creation of paid performance opportunities for freelance musicians who have been devastated by Covid-19 cancellations.
Helping ensembles adapt to the evolving Covid-19 situation, rebuild finances and create activity to retain the accomplished musicians who might otherwise be forced to leave the profession or move abroad.
Supporting long-term viability and resilience through advice, development of more efficient models of functioning, and fostering public appreciation of the historical performance sector.
Historical performance in the UK could become a lost art
The UK has been at the forefront of the historical performance movement since the mid-20th century. Despite the challenges of finding sponsorship, historical performance in the UK was healthy and thriving until Covid-19 struck. Now, this sector faces devastation.
What will happen if we allow the artistry of period instrumentalists to disappear? Programming will wither, staggering gifts will atrophy, and next-generation musicians will lose access to unique expertise.
This once-flourishing ecosystem will be severely depleted.
These artists’ virtuosity, scholarship and exploration of reconstructed and restored instruments have revolutionised concert life. In addition to expanding the repertoire, these musicians have altered, and continue to refresh, the way we hear Western classical music, including the masterpieces of Bach, Handel, Mozart, and Beethoven.
ACADEMY OF ANCIENT MUSIC © Marco Borggreve
A sector-wide initiative is the most effective way to mobilise activity and retain musicians
Our research on Covid-19’s impact on period-instrument ensembles has shown that many are struggling to survive the 20/21 season without additional help. Until now, ensembles have funded their work with a mix of ticket sales, touring, private donations, and grants from trusts and foundations, with little or no public funding. Under Covid restrictions, this economic model is no longer viable. Surveys show between 34% and 64% of UK freelance musicians may leave the profession, and many players have already left the UK. Period instrumentalists have a highly specialised training, and UK ensembles of all sizes will be impoverished by the loss of their talent and scholarship.
AN INVALUABLE CONTRIBUTION
newly discovered masterpieces, found in archives and ‘translated’ into modern notation