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  • Writer's pictureContinuo Foundation

FEBRUARY UPDATE


IN THIS UPDATE:

 

IMPACT - FEEDBACK AND FIGURES


February was a busy month for touring, with five of our Round 6 grantee ensembles presenting concerts in twelve different locations including Nottingham, Presteigne, Manchester, Cambridge, Grantham, Banbury, Bloxham, Chadlington, Bicester, Grindleton, Clitheroe and London. We are also thrilled that the total number of audience members who have enjoyed our grant-supported performances has now surpassed the 100,000 mark!

 

Manchester Baroque presented a completely sold out concert in St Ann's Church in Manchester. Reflecting upon the ensemble's success in establishing itself and building a loyal audience in their home town, the Chair of Trustees commented to us: "People said that we were crazy, that no one in Manchester would be interested in baroque music. It's a delight to prove them wrong. I can say without doubt that this would not have been possible had we not had the firm foundations you’ve helped us to create." - Mike Emmerich Continuo Foundation's impact since the first round of grants in 2021:

£650,000 awarded to 85 ensembles

981 freelance musician beneficiaries

39,159 live audience members

62,061 online audience members

 16 CD recordings released so far

 

2024 GRANTS - ROUNDS 7 AND 8

Grant Round 7 evaluation is underway! We received applications for a range of creative projects, from 50 ensembles, among which are 18 who have not had a Continuo grant before. There were 11 applications in the category dedicated to emerging ensembles (formed in the last 3 years).

 

Our expert Advisory Panel made their recommendations to the Trustees, noting the increasing quality of applications submitted. The Trustees are now conducting their review and will be announcing the grant awards on 21st March.

 

In parallel, we are actively fundraising for both our project grants and growing Continuo Connect. We are working to secure multi-year commitments for a majority of Continuo's total funding needs for 2024 - 2026, to free up our small team to focus more time on delivering on our mission.

 

If you would like to contribute to Grant Round 8, or to pledge an annual amount to fund our work, please let us know. We have secured donations and commitments of £53,150 for Round 8 (opening July 2024), with £46,850 remaining to reach our £100,000 target.

 

NB - if you make a donation from a CAF account, please let us know by email so that we can thank you, as CAF makes the transfers anonymously.

 

Please contact Tina Vadaneaux if you would like to learn more about Continuo's work and plans for the future - or if you have thoughts as to who might be interested in speaking with me about this!


 

CONTINUO CONNECT

Traffic to the Continuo Connect website, and our social media following, continue to grow. There are 170 upcoming concerts across the country to discover on the What's On page, and an increasing number of Festivals and Concert Series offering early music to explore.

 

In February, twelve Features were published, including articles, playlists and an interview with recorder champion and YouTube phenomenon Sarah Jeffery.

 

We have also had requests to book musicians with profiles on the site, and ensembles being approached by concert promoters to book programmes they had discovered on Continuo Connect.

 

We also wished to share this heartwarming message received via the contact form on the site: "Hello, our 6 year old loves Handel music. Are there any concessions for the concert on April 04 please?"



Help amplify all the artists on Continuo Connect by encouraging friends and family to visit the site and join our newsletter for the latest features, playlists and concert recommendations!

 


PLAYER SPOTLIGHT

with Ibrahim Aziz


Meet Ibrahim Aziz, a sought-after viola da gamba player who performs with several Continuo Foundation grantee ensembles. These include the the Chelys Consort of Viols, Divertissements Chinois, Galliarda, and the Rose Consort of Viols. He also performs regularly at the Handel Hendrix House. Beyond the period performance scene, he is set to appear as a soloist with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra in the coming autumn. Discover more about Ibrahim on his Artist profile on Continuo Connect.

How has Continuo impacted your day-to-day life? Continuo has enabled me to live, basically! It’s very difficult to work as an ‘early music’ musician. We are not as well paid as our ‘modern’ counterparts, and there are no salaried orchestral jobs for something like a gamba player (that I know of anyway). Continuo has made it possible for me to practise my craft without resorting to other means.


Which doors have opened since receiving a Continuo Foundation grant?

So many concert doors. To give an example, with the Chelys Consort of Viols, the recording project to mark William Byrd’s 400th anniversary with Helen Charlston has led to numerous concerts nationwide. The Divertissements Chinois project led to collaborations with the V&A Museum on a fascinating and culturally important topic, the fusion of Western and Eastern civilisations.   What do you love about being a musician? I love performing on my instrument and sharing the wonderful sounds that it can create, either on its own or with other instruments around it. I love engaging with an audience and sharing what I have created and my feelings through the music.

Where did you encounter the most receptive audience? I think a receptive audience can be found anywhere. It’s how you as the artist communicate with them that ensures a captive audience. Maybe it’s partly to do with the space, some are easier and others are harder to react to, but I guess it’s also a test on how well the music has been prepared by the artist or ensemble. It takes a certain amount of awareness of your surroundings to be able to communicate, and you can’t do this so well if you are buried in your music. There is something to be said about playing from memory, as long as the process of remembering doesn’t affect your concentration. No.1 listening recommendation? Always listen to what's underneath!


More about Ibrahim Aziz is available on his Continuo Connect Spotlight interview.


 

FEBRUARY PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS

 

Arculo Consort of Viols - Were I a King


Emerging ensemble Arculo Consort of Viols and alto Kim Porter presented a programme of court music by Mundy, Byrd, Ward and Tomkins exploring the concepts of monarchy and divine power. The ensemble also premiered Kim Porter's new work 'Were I a King'. The Arculo Consort are committed to bringing new energy to sublime viol music.


There are two more chances to catch this programme which will tour to York and Oxford in March. More details here.


 

Manchester Baroque - Neptune and Amymone: Musick in Manchester 1744/45


Manchester Baroque performed the latest in their re-creation of the Musick in Manchester 1744/45 concert series, to a sell-out audience filling the baroque St Ann's Church. Recreating the first known concert series to have taken place in the city, the concert was based on the research of Dr Pauline Nobes (Artistic Director). Audiences were given the opportunity to view the original manuscripts used for the concert at a pre-performance event held at Manchester Central Library.

 

Mancunian Matters reports enthusiastically about the concert, which included George Hayden's Cantata 'Neptune and Amymone', featuring Soprano Jane Burnell, alongside concerti grossi by Corelli, Geminiani and Hasse. Don't miss Manchester Baroque, joined by the Manchester Cathedral Choir, for Bach's magnificent St Matthew Passion on Good Friday (29 March)


 

Chelys Consort of Viols - The Honour of William Byrd


The Chelys Consort of Viols was joined by mezzo-soprano Helen Charlston for concerts in Nottingham, Presteigne and Cambridge of repertoire drawn from their latest album: 'The Honour of William Byrd.' A thoughtfully curated programme created by Alison Kinder portrays the composer as a devoted friend, loyal subject, faithful servant and proud Englishman. The Cambridge Independent praised the "unforgettable singing and musical arrangements" highlighting the "marvellously integrated 'knitted sound"' of the ensemble.


Enjoy the short video clip from one of the rehearsal sessions. Album available on Presto.



 


AS EVER, THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT!

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