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Ensembles often comment that the value of a Continuo grant is "much more than just the money." We believe this reflects the fact that our grant making has a strategic focus on building for the future. The endorsement value of a Continuo grant - the confidence it provides to musicians, concert promoters and funders - combined with our publicity support, create a lasting impact which lives on even after the grant funds have been spent.

By offering project grants on a competitive basis, twice annually, we ensure that there will be a steady flow of high calibre chamber performances across the year. This creates employment for freelance musicians and a sense of positivity which ripples across the early music ecosystem, and keeps audiences engaged year-round.

We have developed a two-stage selection process which has produced a series of projects with a reputation for excellence. The majority of projects supported since 2021 have been carried out by smaller or recently formed ensembles who find it challenging to access funding unless the musicians have personal connections. Our grants have levelled the playing field and enabled untapped creativity to be unleashed for the benefit of all. 
The grant award is the first step in a project. Continuo develops an ongoing, supportive relationship with each grantee, and the team supports them with publicity and advice to help projects succeed. Funds are only paid out upon project completion. 


Continuo Foundation conducts a rigorous two-stage selection process which has yielded consistently high quality results in every grant round. 

First Stage Assessment

The initial assessment of all applications is carried out by our expert Advisory Panel who select projects based on artistic merit (quality, creativity, and other criteria outlined here). The Advisory Panel ranks project proposals as follows: 
  • excellent and imaginative, strong audience appeal
  • high standard, worth supporting if funds permit
  • not meeting the quality standard, or not yet ready for funding

Second Stage Evaluation

The Trustees evaluate and rank the projects from the Advisory Panel's top two categories, based on criteria such as:
  • does the ensemble have access to alternative funding sources?
  • does the project help the ensemble build for the future ie. building new audiences and/or relationships with new concert promoters, strengthening the ensemble, developing a new strand of repertoire, etc.
  • does the project bring music to people who lack access to inspiring classical music?

Final Selection and Allocation

The final selection and grant allocations are done based on a weighted average score for  each project, based on rankings reflecting the views of ten assessors (the Expert Advisory Panel and Trustees). The Trustees discuss each project, and try to support as many of the top projects as possible within the funds available, as requests exceed funds available several times over.



In March 2024, Continuo Foundation announced its seventh round of grant awards to 27 period-instrument ensembles from across the UK, for projects from April to end of October 2024. This includes nine groups who are new recipients of our project grants, and six recently formed ensembles.

Please join our mailing list to receive exciting news and highlights from the varied range of projects supported by our grants. 


In September 2023, Continuo Foundation announced its sixth round of grant awards to 25 period-instrument ensembles, 8 of which are recently-formed groups. This expanded our community of grant recipients to include 85 period-instrument ensembles.


In March 2023, Continuo Foundation announced its fifth round of grant awards to 27 UK period-instrument ensembles, for projects from April to end of September 2023. This included 12 groups who were new recipients of our project grants, expanding this community to 77 groups.



In September 2022, Continuo Foundation announced its fourth round grant awards to 24 UK period-instrument ensembles. This included 14 groups new to Continuo grants, expanding our community of grant recipients to 65 groups. 


In September 2021, Continuo Foundation announced its second round grant awards to 23 projects, extending support to 14 period-instrument ensembles new to our grants and 9 who also received a grant in the first round. 
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In March 2022, Continuo Foundation announced its third round of grant awards to 25 period-instrument ensembles, for projects from April to September 2022. This included fourteen groups who were new to our project grants and eleven who have had a grant from us before. 


Continuo Foundation announced its first round of grant awards to 23 period-instrument ensembles in March 2021. It was a joy to see these excellent projects go ahead, and to see ensembles playing together again. Many concerts were filmed and remain available to stream online. 
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From the outset, Continuo Foundation has been offering a minimum of £200,000 per year in project grants across two rounds. Over the past three years, we have been working toward helping musicians to build careers and grow audiences, with an eye on achieving sector-wide financial sustainability for the long term. 

The objective of 2021 grants, awarded during the pandemic, was to restore confidence and provide inspiration and activity across the UK historical performance sector. Our grants enabled projects to go ahead, creating work for musicians despite the uncertainty around Covid restrictions.
Our 2022 grants aimed to encourage live concerts and touring to regions across the UK, particularly those with low provision. We also launched an initiative to support emerging ensembles who were hindered by Covid from establishing a performance track record. 

In 2023, our grants continued to encourage wider access to inspiring live music and to extend Continuo's community of grantee ensembles to include a greater number of recently-formed ensembles and young musicians.

We also launched the Continuo Connect digital platform in 2023, dramatically scaling up the publicity support we offer our grantees, and other UK early music ensembles, as well as leveraging technology to raise the profile of the sector and engage larger, more diverse audiences across the country.
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