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  • Writer's pictureContinuo Foundation





In January, our grants supported eight live concerts in four locations including Northampton, King's Sutton, Warwick and London. It has been a particularly busy month for Fretwork, who saw two of their projects marking 400 years since the deaths of William Byrd and Thomas Weelkes - both supported by Continuo grants - come to fruition. We're delighted that the Brook Street Band's recording of The Dragon of Wantley - a project from our first grant round - has been nominated for the BBC Music Magazine Opera Award 2023. Winners are chosen by public vote, so please register your vote for #TheDragon by 28th February. Our Patron Rachel Podger's Tutta sola has also been nominated for the Instrumental Award 2023, so if you are voting, please do check out Rachel's outstanding solo violin recording here. The impact of Continuo's grant-making activity since our inception, summarised in figures:

£384,500 disbursed to 56 different ensembles 760 individual freelance musicians benefited 20,495 live audiences participated 61,366 online audiences participated 9 CD recordings released so far



The Round 5 submission deadline was yesterday, and we are thrilled to have received 60 applications, spanning a fascinating range of projects. The ensembles who applied also created profiles on our first phase Continuo Connect site, which went live for ensembles and musicians in January. The Connect profiles will provide all information needed by our assessors in one place. Applications will now be evaluated for their artistic merit by our expert Advisory Panel: David Hill, Dr. Berta Joncus, Lindsay Kemp, Catherine Mackintosh, and Joseph McHardy. The panel's recommendations will then be considered by the Trustees, with results expected by 23rd March. For those unable to apply in Round 5, or with projects planned for October 2023 to the end of March 2024, we plan to launch the next grant round in July 2023. If you would like to support Grant Round 6, please contact Tina Vadaneaux to discuss how you can make a difference.



Meet Edinburgh-based lutenist Eric Thomas, founder of the Spinacino Consort, one of our recently formed ensembles. Their concert ''Away vain warld' with music of the Scottish kirk, court and reformation is available to watch on demand.

How has Continuo impacted you personally? Receiving the Continuo grant gave me a big confidence boost and belief just at the right time when reviving projects after the Covid lockdowns. The grant allowed us to make a professional recording of our concert, and the clips from that concert have helped us to secure further engagements and residencies to develop future projects. What do you love about your job / being a musician? The variety! A week can include lecturing university students, introducing primary school kids to the theorbo, teaching bass and maybe a concert or two. Where did you encounter the most receptive audience? Our most receptive audience had to be at our Edinburgh Festival Fringe concert last year. It was clear the audience were delighted to be back at the Fringe festival after the previous two years were cancelled! No. 1 listening recommendation? La Lyra with Pino de Vittorio – Gorzanis: La Barca del mio Amore If you like sixteenth-century music with an Italian flavour and a heavy dose of lutes, it doesn’t get much better than this! More about Eric Thomas is available on his musician profile on Continuo Connect.




Chelys Consort of Viols – The Leaves Be Greene

Viol consort Chelys presented the first two concerts, in King's Sutton and in Pinner, of a concert tour with soprano Gwendolen Martin and tenor Jonathan Hanley. This journey through the seasons in renaissance music and folksong includes a varied programme of 16th century music alongside arrangements by Alison Kinder of more modern pieces, such as Scarborough Fair. There is one more chance to catch this beautiful programme - in Rugby on Saturday, 11th February.


Fretwork and The Gesualdo Six – Secret Byrd

In the last weekend of January, Fretwork and The Gesualdo Six premiered an immersive staged production of Secret Byrd by Bill Barclay/Concert Theatre Works. The four performances in the candlelit crypt of St Martin-in-the-Fields were completely sold out. Wonderful reviews followed, for example in The Guardian (4*) 'Musically it’s glorious.' Secret Byrd will tour around the UK and abroad through the year. More dates to come.


Fretwork and The King's Singers – Tom + Will

Last year, Fretwork teamed up with The King's Singers to record a new album of music by Thomas Weelkes and William Byrd, to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the year in which both died. Tom + Will was released on the Signum label on 13th January, followed by a launch concert at Wigmore Hall. Available HERE.

'A lovely way to explore these two composers on their anniversary' - Radio 3 Record Review

'An enthralling disc in every way' -Europadisc

We hope you enjoy this clip of a Pavan by Weelkes, filmed during the recording sessions.


Don't miss the varied selection of upcoming grantee concerts on our Events Calendar.


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