IN THIS UPDATE:
GRANTS IMPACT - FEEDBACK AND FIGURES
Catching up on grant-funded activity since our last monthly update in December, five ensembles presented concerts in five locations, including a first for us in Northern Ireland. The concerts included final performances of 'Secret Byrd,' a collaboration between viol consort Fretwork and vocal group The Gesualdo Six which sold out concerts across the UK in 2023. January highlights include a project from Liturina exploring Bach and jazz, and recording projects by Linarol Consort and Dunedin Consort. More about these projects can be found below.
Another exciting moment was the Wigmore Hall debut of Spinacino Consort in collaboration with vocal group Siglo de Oro. This sold -out concert, and the other performances of 'Hey for Christmas' in Scotland, had glowing feedback from audiences and outstanding reviews from critics. "This grant from Continuo Foundation was vital to the project’s success, the most ambitious we have so far completed. Without your support, the project would have had to have been greatly reduced in size. We are now planning a further tour next December. Performing at Wigmore Hall with Siglo de Oro has established Spinacino Consort as emerging artists on the UK early music scene, and the excellent reviews of this concert are particularly valuable for our future.
None of this would have been possible without the vote of confidence your grant gave us to embark on such a large project. Your grants are vital to the numerous emerging ensembles you support, allowing the creation of innovative programmes and concert formats. We are extremely thankful to be a part of the wonderful community you have created." - Eric Thomas, lutenist Continuo Foundation's impact since the first round of grants in 2021:
£650,000 awarded to 85 different ensembles 974 individual freelance musician beneficiaries 38,000 live audience members 62,000 online audience members 16 CD recordings released so far
2024 GRANTS - ROUNDS 7 AND 8
We launched the first £100,000 round of our 2024 grants on the 9th January. With three days to go until the submission deadline, we are delighted to see the creative proposals flowing in from both previous grantees and new ensembles.
Our expert Advisory Panel is ready to carry out the first stage evaluation of all the applications and will make their recommendations to the Trustees by the end of February. The assessment process and grant decisions are expected to be completed by 21st March, when awards will be announced.
In parallel with this process, we are seeking to raise the funds needed for Continuo's two strands of activity: project grants and the Continuo Connect digital initiative. We are working hard to secure advance commitments for a majority of Continuo's total funding needs for 2024 - 2026.
We would like to thank all who have donated, or made pledges toward this longer-term goal. In the immediate term, the funding gap for the July 2024 grant round is £47,500.
NB - if you make a donation from a CAF account, please let us know by email so that we can thank you. These fund transfers arrive with only a CAF reference number.
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, the Go-To Guide for Early Music, continues to expand. In January, over 150 concerts were listed on the What's On page. We now have a dedicated page for Festivals and Concert Series across the UK, bringing this information together in one place. The Features page continues to flourish, with new articles and interviews by and about musicians being published regularly. Do have a look and don't miss our landmark interview with Sir Roger Norrington!
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!
with Amanda Babington
Meet Amanda Babington, who plays the musette, baroque violin and recorder. She combines performance with musicology, lecturing at the Royal Northern College of Music and directing the University of Manchester Baroque Orchestra. As founder of Baroque in the North, she is determined to spread her love of early music to audiences of all ages and tastes. February Frolics and February Fun bring baroque music to Lancashire. More details here.
How has Continuo impacted your day-to-day life? Grants from Continuo Foundation have allowed me to grow my ensemble Baroque In The North from a seed of an idea into a fully functioning, impactful organisation that is bringing early music to rural villages in the Peak District and achieving our other charitable goals.
Which doors have opened since receiving a Continuo Foundation grant?
Continuo grants have enabled us to initiate and run a successful concert series. Subsequent funders have taken this as evidence of our ability and have granted funding on this basis. Running Baroque & Beyond (the project funded by Continuo grants) has also opened doors to partnerships with other organisations who see us as viable partners thanks to our success in finding funding for projects. What do you love about being a musician? I love the variety of activities. I love providing pleasure and bringing joy to audiences. Above all, I love hearing from our audiences that we are making a difference to their lives.
Where did you encounter the most receptive audience? All of our audiences are receptive but we have been particularly struck by how live music can speak to people of all ages. So far, our audiences have ranged in age from 2 to 97 years of age and everyone seems to find something to enjoy and savour! No.1 listening recommendation? Always listen critically. Not in a judgemental sense but with an enquiring mind. Questioning is what leads us to exciting discoveries!
JANUARY PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS
Liturina - 1039
Pushing the boundaries of baroque, Liturina explored the creative intersection of baroque and jazz in collaboration with composer and jazz musician Jonny Mansfield (pictured below). In their January concert at Heath Street Baptist Church in London, the group placed Bach's Trio Sonata BWV 1039 alongside Mansfield’s new commission, entitled '1039' as well as side-by-side performances of his '1038' and Bach's BWV 1038. All these works will feature on the group's forthcoming debut album.
Linarol Consort - Epitaph for a Green Lover
The Linarol Consort have completed three intense days of recording 'Epitaph for a Green Lover' with soprano Héloïse Bernard. This project brings to life a rich programme of music sourced from the songbooks of Marguerite of Austria featuring works by Brumel, Ockeghem, Josquin, de Orto and Pierre de la Rue. The group had toured this programme, thanks to a Continuo grant award in 2022, and had so many CD requests that they decided to make this recording!
Dunedin Consort - 'Handel in Rome' with Nardus Williams
Scotland's Dunedin Consort, led by John Butt, joined forces with Soprano Nardus Williams, rapidly establishing herself as one of the most exciting British singers of her generation, to record an album featuring Handel cantatas from his time in Rome (1706-10). This recording project follows on from an acclaimed 2023 tour, "an exquisite and subtle Handel feast” - theartsdesk.com. 'Handel in Rome' will be Nardus' solo recording debut, to be released on Linn Records.